The many improvements a Sutherland couple has made on their farm during their time as monitor farmers will be highlighted at their final meeting next week (10 December, 2019).

Since opening the gates to Clynelish for the first monitor farm meeting back in February 2017, Sutherland Monitor farmers, Jason and Victoria Ballantyne, have made improvements throughout the business, particularly in regard to rotational grazing and growing fodder crops.

During the past three years one focus has been collaboration. Clynelish now works closely with local farmers, sharing transport costs and a portable vet marker. This has led to cost savings for not just the monitor farm but the wider community.

Mrs Ballantyne said: The monitor farm programme has been a great experience and it’s given us the opportunity to meet other farmers and industry experts which has been extremely beneficial to our business.

“Likewise, we hope those who have attended meetings have learnt something from the different trials and experiments we've carried out. Knowing what doesn't work is sometimes as important as knowing what does,” she added.

At the final meeting, QMS chair, Kate Rowell will talk about her time as a monitor farmer, her experience since finishing the programme and the positive effect it has had on her farming business.

Three regular attendees of the Sutherland Monitor Farm will also speak about the positive impact the project has had on them personally and on their own business.

Willie Budge, Sutherland Monitor Farm facilitator from SAC Consulting, said: “There has been tremendous support from the community group whose enthusiasm and skill have made a potent recipe for success at Clynelish.”

“I would encourage all with an interest in improving their farm business to attend the final meeting which will cover the highlights and lessons learned during the three-year project.”

The final meeting will take place on December 10, at Brora Golf Course Clubhouse at 10:30am till 3.00pm. To attend the meeting, please book by contacting SAC Thurso on 01847 892602 or email

The Sutherland monitor farm is one of nine monitor farms that have been established around Scotland in a joint initiative by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and AHDB Cereals and Oilseeds. The aim of the programme, which is funded by Scottish Government, is to help improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of Scottish farm businesses.

For more information about the monitor farm programme visit

Canadians Celebrate St Andrew’s Day with Scotch Beef PGI

One of Scotland’s most iconic foods, Scotch Beef PGI, has taken centre stage at a celebratory event in Canada to celebrate St Andrew’s Day.

The event, organised by Scottish Development International (SDI) and supported by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and processor AK Stoddarts who supplied the Scotch Beef, took place at Canadian fine food retailer Denninger’s Burlington Centre and was attended by over 200 discerning guests.

Scotland’s National Chef and Masterchef: The Professionals 2016 Winner Gary Maclean, along with Scottish chef John Higgins, whose long list of accolades include cooking for royalty and heads of state, prepared a tasting and pairing menu which included Scotch Beef and gave a nod to traditional St Andrew’s Day dishes.

Grant Moir, managing director of AK Stoddarts, said: “With nearly five million people in Canada of Scottish descent there is a clear market for premium Scotch Beef which is underpinned by globally-renowned quality and exceptional taste.”

Alan Clarke, chief executive of Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) said that Canadian consumers have a genuine appetite for naturally-reared, quality Scotch Beef – a product that offers world-leading levels of traceability, assurance and welfare standards.

“Having Scotch Beef on the shelves in Canada is hugely important for our industry and we look forward to further developing additional opportunities to promote and showcase Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb in Canada over the coming months.”