Mairi Gougeon announces new funding for Dourie Farm

Hannah Downey

Earlier this week, Mairi Gougeon announced a newly funded project through the Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund (KTIF),  which aims to help farmers by supporting projects aimed at increasing farmers skills and knowledge. To date the Scottish Government has awarded over £5 million to 21 projects through the scheme.

Creating new breeding technology and developing new bedding for cattle are among the exciting agriculture projects to share more than £175,000 of investment from the fund, and the scheme will also help to drive forward innovation in farming and food production, diversifying jobs and boosting incomes.  

Announcing the funding during a visit to Dourie Farm in Port William in Galloway to meet with one of the funding recipients, Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon said:

“Our rural businesses are full of people with the skills, expertise and potential to drive the rural economy forward. All they need is the right support, delivered at the right time. This £175,000 investment will help diversify their skill-set and ensure innovative technology is at the forefront of our farming and food production industry. 

“The project I’m visiting today is to receive funding to focus on addressing the slow rate of genetic improvement in dairy cattle on the female side and to deliver new breeding technologies.

“The Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS) were granted funding for two other projects. The first of those is looking at the practical, environmental and financial feasibility of using woodchip bedding for livestock in the west of Scotland, the second aims to evidence the financial and environmental value of moving breeding cattle to lower cost natural resources.

“Innovation is key to transforming our productivity and is one of the four economic priorities of this Government.”

Dairy farmer Rory Christie, who owns Dourie Farm, said:

“The Rural Innovation Support Service helped us get a viable proposal together for a genetic improvement programme, alongside Mike Coffey of SRUC. The KTIF funding now allows us to get started on the work we need to do. Genetic indexing is the first step. We hope that the eventual genetic gains we make from a full breeding programme will not only improve the resilience and sustainability of our own grass-based dairy farms, but can also be shared as a blueprint for improvement across the whole livestock sector.”

Deputy director of Soil Association Scotland and Rural Innovation Support Service lead David Michie said:

“The Rural Innovation Support Service (RISS) is an important mechanism for farmers to find innovative, local solutions to some of the challenges agriculture faces today, which stem from the central question of how to produce food profitably, in harmony with the natural environment. Farmers are time-poor but they know what’s best for their business. RISS provides a facilitator whose job it is to get the right people together from all along the supply chain and get their idea off the ground: help them access funding if need be, or just figure out how to get started.”

Find out more about the Rural Innovation Support Service