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Argyll & Bute Agricultural Forum, Update November 2011 

Lamb Groups
AHL -600 lambs committed to Fortieths this year, 2 new members in Cowal and Coll, attended Fort William trade show.  BBC landward filmed a piece on the group to be aired on 18th November.
Islay lamb – brand work now complete, samples with butcher wholesaler.

Farm woodland collaboration project
Pilot in North Kintyre – core group of farmers sought for a steering group. Focus on rhododendron control, wood fuel production and maximising use of equipment. FCS funding plus Leader bid submitted.

Argyll Food Producers – Food from Argyll
Event season now finished.  Working on social media promotion and Food from Argyll hamper offering for Christmas.  Drive associate member benefit for over 30 members.
Much of this links with TORE project which formally began at the end of October.

Argyll Abattoirs
Mull has now employed the ex Islay slaughter man full time. And recruited a local butcher and is undertaking butchery training for 2 other part time staff. Throughput is steadily increasing as skills improve.

Islay open meeting held on the 20th Oct for the working group to update interested people.  Proposal is to operate a part time facility with batched kill days utilising local piece labour. Training for local slaughter men and trial slaughter days on 19-21st November to evaluate costs. Viable kill days to be achieved by reaching critical mass. Part of the facility to operate as a deer larder.
Island Abattoir Paper being produced to highlight the administrative burden for low throughput facilities and the cost burden of waste disposal.  Intention is to achieve some revenue support for these facilities.

Argyll and Isles Strategic Tourism Partnership
Group now formed as a Cooperative.  Assisted the group to submit a bid to the October Leader round of funding to employ a coordinator, attend tourism expo in 2012 and further the umbrella brand for the region.  The group is following the lead set by the Argyll Food Producers and utilising the branding approach where food and drink plays a prominent role. Mike Story presented to the Agri Forum yesterday and advised that the Tourism Partnership hoped to help turn around a drop in Argyll’s most recent figures. One of the initiatives he described was the ‘Argyll Journey’ targeted at visitors from the EU and beyond who are seeking a package including high quality accommodation and attractions delivered using tailored multimodal transport solutions.

Working through the South Argyll Rural Initiative to submit a funding bid to the October round of Leader. Project aims to learn from Pembrokeshire and Cumbria  on how to improve milk quality, reduce farmer input costs and improve the long term sustainability of each area. Key partners SAC and First Milk.

Regional Lobbying on the CAP
From the George Lyon meeting in Campbeltown. Vulnerable areas sector approach being developed from a H&I  perspective, putting down a marker for vulnerable farming systems.






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