World Canals Conference

The World Canals Conference 2016 will showcase the huge range of exciting and innovative projects underway on and along inland waterways around the globe.

Hosted in Inverness, the gateway to the majestic Caledonian Canal, the conference will showcase the many attractions of the nation’s 137-mile canal network, from the incredible Kelpies – the largest equine sculptures on the planet – and The Falkirk Wheel to the innovative projects in surface water management, asset monitoring and repair and place-making.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead has announced that five projects will receive a share of £2 million from the Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund (KTIF).

The projects will promote skills development, knowledge transfer and deliver on-the-ground improvements to the farming sector in Scotland.

Grants will be awarded to the following projects:

Soil Association are looking for new Field Lab ideas to test new farming approaches, share best practice and solve problems.

Field Labs bring agricultural research directly to the field and the shed, bringing farmers and growers together with a researcher and a dedicated facilitator to focus on your own research questions. Field Labs in Scotland are free to attend and open to all farmers and growers, not just organic ones.

Over 100 people from across rural Perthshire braved the snow and ice to attend the launch of the Rural Perth & Kinross LEADER programme on 14 January. 

After a spot of networking at the various stands the meeting commenced with the Local Action Group Chair, with Jackie Brierton speaking passionately about the opportunities that the Local Development Strategy offers in terms of stronger networking, collaboration, a well connected sustainable local economy with communities coming together.

A report from a study visit to Dumfries and Galloway by Ceredigion and Cairngorms LEADER Local Action Groups is now available.

Below is the Executive Summary of the report, and you can also download the full report for more information.

Presentations from a European Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation systems event are now available online.

The European Commission Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI) organised the two-day seminar to promote understanding of Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS) and to highlight practical examples of the changes taking place in approaches to knowledge transfer, learning and innovation in the agricultural, forestry and rural development sectors.

A mini farm shop vending machine is being trialled at Forth Valley College.

The vending machine at Forth Valley College's Stirling Campus offers a broad variety of local products from different producers including bread, vegetables and eggs.

The ten-day pilot scheme aims to connect more consumers with their local producers and, if successful, could see mini farm shops pop up across the city.

What Future for our Farming Systems? Environmental Challenges and Integrated Solutions

Farming systems across Scotland, the UK and Europe can vary markedly from place to place. A range of factors can influence what types of production are practiced in any one place. However, climate and soil type are especially important in dictating the type and intensity of management that is possible.

A new network to give farmers research support and funding on their own terms has launched.

The Innovative Farmers network recognises that many of the best ideas in farming come from farmers. The not-for-profit network matches farmer groups with some of the UK’s best research teams, including Rothamsted Research, IBERS and Harper Adams. It provides professional support, a web portal where groups share their learning, and access to a dedicated research fund.

The ENRD Contact Point is looking for examples of good practice in the use of modern information and communication technologies (ICT) in rural areas, particularly where initiatives have been supported under the Rural Development Programme (RDP).