Eco-friendly opportunities for red meat

Scotland's livestock farmers and processors have been encouraged to apply for funds from the Scottish Rural Development Plan (SRDP) in a bid to make their businesses more eco-friendly.

Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) believes that the SRDP can help the sector respond to growing expectations for a significant cut in Scotland's emissions, with the Government targeting an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Speaking at the Beef and Lamb Forum in Perth yesterday, Stuart Ashworth, senior business analyst at QMS, said: "Although we have made significant progress since 1990 in reducing greenhouse gases from ruminant livestock and fertilisers, we have to be realistic and accept that demands for our industry to become more eco-friendly are not going to go away.

"Scientists around the globe are identifying new ways of helping agriculture do its bit to minimise climate change, and close inspection of the SRDP suggests that there are real opportunities to secure financial support to make changes at farm and processor level.

"Rather than wait to be told what to do, producers may prefer to consider what changes would suit their individual business, from tree planting to utilising the latest developments in grassland science, and look to secure money in the SRDP to help fund them."

The Scotland Rural Development Programme is a £1.6 billion programme of economic, environmental and social measures, designed to develop rural Scotland over the next seven years. Applications can be made online now through the Scottish Government website at www.ruralgateway.org.uk.

QMS is involved in a number of small-scale research projects, helping the industry identify ways of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.