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OnFARM rural podcast

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Telling rural stories from Scotland and beyond. OnFARM showcases rural enterprise, community, creativity, and so much more. We will champion the producers, grafters, and innovators who put food on our tables and keep our countryside green and beautiful for all. OnFARM: Food, Agricultural and Rural Matters in Scotland. New episodes every Monday, presented by Anna Davies and Ross Montague.
95 Episodes
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2022 already looks like being a challenging year for farming. There are huge unanswered questions over support policies and mechanisms, and concerns over big increases in cheap imported food due to Brexit. The UK DEFRA Secretary George Eustice recently said that farmers must do more to “stand up to supermarkets” over prices – but he was short on practical suggestions for how many might do that. Helping to find a path through this difficult terrain is going to be a big focus for OnFARM in 2022, and we start by revisiting a conversation with Galloway dairy farmer Rory Christie.  Rory has great advice on giving yourself the best chance in negotiations – not just with supermarkets and other buyers, but with landlords, and even spouses!
Leicestershire mixed farmer and Farm To Fork author Joe Stanley wants more consumers and householders to better understand where their food comes from, and the work that goes on on British farms. Joe sits down with Anna to talk about some of the ways this could happen.
SAYFC members undertook a series of farm visits at the start of December, as part of the organisation's 7th agriculture and rural affairs conference. OnFARM's Monty tagged along for one of the visits, to Learielaw Farm in Broxburn near Edinburgh. This episode is kindly supported by law firm Gillespie Macandrew.
AgriScot coming soon

AgriScot coming soon

2021-12-0634:23

An in-person AgriScot event is coming soon! The farm business event is returning to the Royal Highland Showground on Weds 9th Feb. In this episode Monty hears from AgriScot chairman Robert Neill, while Anna re-visits the last AgriScot event that took place, back in 2019.
Angus Elder is a third-generation organic veg and cereals farmer at Chapel Organics in East Lothian. Anna visited Angus at his farm for a tour and a chat, to learn about his farm enterprise growing crops and produce, primarily for veg box schemes. Angus is also a SOPA (Scottish Organic Producers Association) board member - this episode is made in partnership with SOPA.
Anna explores the benefits of collaboration in Scottish food and farming - meeting representatives from cheese producers, flower growers, and apple growers, who have all formed collaborative groups, with the help of Scottish farming's co-op umbrella organisation SAOS. Guests: Valerie Orr from Blooming Bees and the Flowers Grown in Scotland groupCatherine Drummond-Herdman at Megginch Castle and the Scottish Apple Producers groupJane Stewart of St Andrews Farm House Cheese Company and Fine Cheesemakers of ScotlandEpisode produced in partnership with SAOS.
Scottish agritourism faces “the opportunity to become world renowned”, according to Visit Scotland’s Vicki Millar. In this episode, Monty also meets Cabinet Secretary Mairi Gougeon, Scottish Agritourism lead Caroline Millar and many others, at the launch of Scotland’s ambitious new agritourism growth strategy. This packed episode is kindly supported by Ledingham Chalmers.Contributors:Cabinet Secretary Mairi GougeonScottish Agritourism’s Caroline MillarVisit Scotland’s Vicki MillarAlan Laidlaw from RHASSThe Scotsman newspaper’s Brian HendersonThe Scottish Farmer’s political editor Claire TaylorLinda Tinson of Ledingham Chalmers solicitors Agritourism businesses:Stuart and Jo McNicol from DriftJasmine and Fenwick Jackson from Jacksons at JedburghJohn Scott of Fearn FarmHelen Smith from Byres FarmSarah Johnson of Bowbridge Alpacas ScotlandNikki Storrar of Ardross Farm ShopRobert and Lucy Wilson of Wilson’s Farm and KitchenWith thanks to: The Scotland Starts Here podcast from the South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA)
Anna and Monty are sharing exciting news! The OnFARM family is expanding. In January 2022, we launch the OnFARM Academy, offering training programmes and modules for all aspects of rural life and business. Some modules already live, and available to OnFARM listeners half-price until launch. Find OnFARM Academy at https://training.onfarmacademy.com/ (https://training.onfarmacademy.com/)
What should be Scottish farming's response to COP26? As the summit gets underway in Glasgow, Anna is spending time with SAOS chairman John Hutcheson, and Emma Patterson-Taylor, SAOS's climate change and sustainability manager.
A farmhouse kitchen blether between Anna and three brilliant women, each with perspectives as women in agriculture. Amy Geddes is a 4th-generation farmer at Wester Braikie Farm near Arbroath. Aylett Roan farms alongside her husband at Barnbarrock farm in Dumfries and Galloway, and also runs a doorstep milk-delivery business. Lois Newton is an associate in the land and rural department at Gillespie Macandrew. We are grateful to Gillespie Macandrew for supporting this episode.
Tebay services and farm shop in Westmorland is a staple of many people's north-south car journeys, with food and facilities several cuts above most motorway stop-offs. Monty meets farm manager Bob Day and Tebay head of butchery David Morland, and follows the Tebay journey from farm to fork - a distance of about 3 miles door-to-door. Luing cattle are among the breeds favoured at Tebay - and this is the second of two OnFARM episodes produced with the Luing Cattle Society.
Agriculture faces many profitability and sustainability challenges, not least in suckler beef production where margins are tight and environmental impact questions are constantly raised. In the first of two episodes supported by the Luing Cattle Society, Monty finds out how the Luing breed is meeting these challenges head-on, and driving a profitable business for first-generation farmer Giles Henry. We also hear how the breed was designed and developed by the Cadzow brothers, and how their aims for the breed ring true with many of today’s farming systems. Find more about Luing online at https://luingcattlesociety.co.uk/ (https://luingcattlesociety.co.uk/)
Equi-Scotia have, since the start of the pandemic, been running horse-facilitated learning and psychotherapy - to groups, individuals, businesses and youth groups. OnFARM's resident horse-lover Anna has been finding out more about their work from founder Julie-Anne Griffith.
Anna and Monty discuss the incredible response to last week's episode - when Monty spoke with Jamie Brand, the brother of East Lothian farmer Grant Brand, who very sadly took his own life back in February. Anna is then joined by Morna Ronnie and Kirsty Ritchie from 'Be Your Best Self' - a fully-funded personal development programme currently on offer to women in agriculture in Scotland. Be Your Best Self helps participants to grow confidence and resilience, identify their strengths, and understand how and when to work with others. It also offers mental health and wellbeing support, and a network of like-minded women that can last for the long-term. For more on Be Your Best Self, visit https://thepeopleportfolio.co.uk/category/beyourbestself/ (https://thepeopleportfolio.co.uk/category/beyourbestself/)
Content Warning: Suicide, Mental Health >>> The news in February that East Lothian farmer Grant Brand had taken his own life left many in Scottish farming shocked and upset – and, of course, sending heartfelt good wishes to Grant’s family. This episode pays tribute to Grant, hearing memories and thoughts from his brother Jamie Brand. We also hear how Grant’s death prompted OnFARM's Monty and his friend Scott Brown to create the ‘We All Need a Farmer’ short film, that has now been shared hundreds of times on social media. This episode of OnFARM discusses suicide and mental health. Any time you need to speak to someone about your own mental health, please talk to someone you trust. You can call your GP, contact the Samaritans (https://www.samaritans.org/) (https://www.samaritans.org/)), or – if you are in Scottish farming – the RSABI (https://rsabi.org.uk/) (https://rsabi.org.uk/)). You can watch the We All Need a Farmer film here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lbWDC6CWc8 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lbWDC6CWc8)
Monty goes in search of a new breeding tup at Europe's largest ram auction - while OnFARM producer Dave nearly buys one by accident. We also follow a young auctioneer getting his first opportunity on the big stage, and speak to Border Union Agricultural Society chief executive Dan Withall. The Kelso Ram Sales, held annually by BUAS, had an electric atmosphere from the outset - as one of the first major 'in person' agricultural events after Covid restrictions were loosened. Big thanks to the Border Union Agricultural Society for supporting this episode.
Christopher Trotter, the food writer who once ran a Michelin-starred kitchen, and Fife food ambassador, wants us all to eat more varied and sustainably sourced Scottish fish. His new book is called Coasts and Waters: The British Seafood Cookbook. Christopher speaks to OnFARM's Sarah Anderson, in the first episode of our new series.
Malting barley producers face a difficult and uncertain summer, after one of Scotland's biggest grain merchants fell into administration. Many fear they will lose large sums of money as a result of Alexander Inglis and Son's closure. An already limited set of grain purchasers is now even smaller, making it harder for producers to negotiate a price. Perhaps most urgently - many now face having nowhere to dry and store this summer's harvest. It's a tough situation, so Monty is searching for solutions - with Ally Brunton of the SAYFC agri affairs committee, Donald Ross, an ex chairman of Highland Grain, and dairy and pig farmer Rory Christie, of the Milk Supply Association and SAOS.
A summary of the themes discussed more indepth in 5 recent OnFARM episodes with SAOS, discussing themes around climate change, farming, and the value of cooperation.
In what should be Royal Highland Show week 2021, Monty speaks with SAYFC's Hamish Logan on how Young Farmers have made the best of a difficult and isolated time in lockdown. SAYFC members are gearing up to take centre stage at the Royal Highland Showcase, a series of virtual and online events replacing this year’s Show. We also look back on last year’s 14-part special OnFARM series with RHASS, celebrating the Royal Highland Show and all the Society achieves.
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