Two advisers appointed to Farm Profit Programme

John Gregor (ANM Group Executive Director), Declan Marren (FFP Adviser), Robert Gilchrist (FFP Adviser)

The ANM Group, one of the largest producer-owned farming, food and finance businesses in Scotland and the Farmers’ Journal have appointed two advisors to the Farm Profit Programme: Making Livestock Pay.

The programme, which launched earlier this year, aims to improve the technical performance and profitability of livestock farmers in the region through dissemination of best practice, with the vision to lead a livestock revival in the North and North East of Scotland, to be a source of technical information and innovation and to help livestock producers grow and prosper.

This joint project will see ANM Group and the Farmers’ Journal work with six focus farms and eight focus groups, over a three-year period, within the trading area of ANM Group which stretches from Caithness to Angus.

John Gregor, Executive Director of ANM Group, said: “We are delighted to welcome Declan Marren and Robert Gilchrist as advisers to the Farm Profit Programme. Their experience, technical knowledge and enthusiasm for farming will greatly benefit not only farmers involved in the programme, but everyone in the agricultural industry. We look forward to working with them over the coming years as we ensure the sector is fit for the future.”

Declan Marren joins the Group from a farm in County Sligo in the North-west of Ireland. Having graduated from University College Dublin in 2015 with a PhD in beef production, Mr Marren has held a number of roles within Teagasc, the agriculture and food development authority in Ireland. In his previous role, he was as an education officer providing support and training for young farmers in Ireland. Mr Marren has previous experience with similar projects, having developed a strategy to establish a blueprint for sustainable beef production systems.

Robert Gilchrist is a graduate of the Scottish Agriculture College, Aberdeen. He was most recently employed with Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) as a knowledge transfer specialist in the industry development team, establishing initiatives to support the beef and sheep sector. Previously, he spent five years as a nutritionist with Richard Keenan (UK) Ltd, where he was the beef specialist for Scotland.

The two full-time livestock advisors will support the focus farms in developing and implementing a three-year strategic plan. As part of the programme, farmers will receive an intensive technical knowledge service and guidance on how to achieve agreed targets. Farmers will further benefit from carrying out a whole farm review (WFRS) and setting independent benchmarks to monitor and measure performance.

Eight focus groups will also be established across the region comprising of 10 to 15 like-minded farmers. The farmers will focus on their systems, businesses, discuss challenges, share experiences and implement advice relevant to their farms. The objective of the focus groups is to provide a platform to ask questions, challenge thinking and drive results.

Mr Gregor continued: “We are pleased with the initial interest and excitement generated by the programme from farmers to date. Our advisers’ priority is to proceed with the selection of suitable focus farms from the area and we encourage anyone interested in the focus groups to register their involvement with them.”