The changes are ringing at the country’s arable assurance scheme, Scottish Quality Crops (SQC) – with a new managing director taking over the running of the operation and the future provision of the assessment services being put out for tender.

Teresa Dougall has officially taken over the helm as MD after working in tandem with executive director, Alistair Ewan, who stepped down this week. Ms Dougall is a well-known face in the farming world with 30 years of experience in the sector, most recently working with NFU Scotland.

The tender for the provision of the assessment services which validate that good practice is exercised by members will see a third-party Certification Body (CB) contractor appointed to provide independent assessment and certification services to the organisation’s assurance programme.

A similar exercise carried out recently by the red meat assurance body, Quality Meat Scotland, saw Lloyd’s Registers replaced by the Scottish-based offshoot of SAOS, Food Integrity Assurance.

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SQC chair, Andrew Moir, said the tender would add value to growers’ businesses by maximising cost-effective access to multiple market opportunities while providing independent verification that SQC growers demonstrated safe, traceable and environmentally responsible production of crops within Scotland.

“Our tender process will ensure that – for the next five years – we have on board a certification body which will continue to ensure these measures are reached and to work with us to provide the best possible service and assurance scheme to our members,” said Mr Moir, who said it was important for the SQC board to provide members with value for money and to remember that participation in the scheme was voluntary.