New monitor farm for Shetland announced

Kirsty and Aimee Budge
Ann-Marie Meikle

Run by sisters Kirsty and Aimee Budge, Bigton Farm in Shetland is the sixth of nine new monitor farms being established in Scotland.

Twenty three year old Kirsty and nineteen year old Aimee are passionate about farming and keen to improve the farm business.  They are also eager to raise awareness of the importance of farming on Shetland and the role of women in agriculture.

The Budges hope that being monitor farmers will not only help them develop their business and learn more about how they can make it more profitable, but that other farmers and crofters on Shetland will benefit from the programme too.

Aimee Budge said: “Farming on Shetland has some unique challenges – a short growing season means that cattle on the island are usually housed for longer, increasing feed costs.  The weather, especially the high winds, can also be a challenge, and transport costs for animals, feed and other supplies are also much higher compared with most farms on the mainland. 

“While there are certainly challenges, there are also a lot of positives. Shetland is a beautiful place to live and work and has a wonderful farming community.  People here are incredibly friendly and supportive and we really hope that the local farmers will get involved and make the project successful,” added Aimee.

The new three-year monitor farm programme is being run jointly by Quality Meat Scotland and AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds.  It is establishing a group of farms to serve as monitor farms to help improve the profitability, productivity and sustainability of producers through practical demonstrations, the sharing of best practice and the discussion of up-to-date issues.

The new Shetland Monitor Farm plans to hold its first meeting in the new year.  Those interested in getting involved should contact the project facilitator, Graham Fraser, SAC Consulting Lerwick on 01595 693520, or email

For more information about the monitor farm programme visit the QMS website.