Moray venue chosen for organic farming conference

A FOCHABERS FARM is to host a conference next month that seeks to look at the challenges facing organic livestock producers in Scotland.

The Lower Mill at Tynet Farm near the Moray today is the chosen venue of the Scottish Organic Producers Association (SOPA) for their conference on June 16.

It will look specifically at Livestock in Low Input Systems (LILIS) and successes and challenges of livestock production in organic, upland and similar low-input systems.

Topics under discussion this year will be the use of inter-cropping and companion planting, and how simple innovations can boost the productive yield from grass swards. SOPA are joining forces with Organic Farmers & Growers (OF&G) to host the conference.

SOPA member and Nuffield Scholar Gordon Whiteford will host this year’s event. Gordon was originally brought up on a dairy farm in Ayrshire and is now a first-generation farmer on Fochabers Estate.

Gordon took his first venture into organics in 2005 by renting a field in Ardersier, near Inverness, to establish an organic poultry enterprise. He now has two flocks of 2000 British Black Tails for organic egg production. Five years ago he gained tenancy of the 52-hectare farm at Lower Mill of Tynet, where he initially set up a free-range laying hen enterprise.

Last year the farm entered conversion to organic production with a mix of enterprises, including laying hens, as well as the addition of sheep and cattle, along with supporting arable.

Debs Roberts, SOPA Policy Manager, said: “We’re really looking forward to this year’s LILIS conference, and to visiting Lower Mill of Tynet Farm. It’s always exciting to meet people from across the farming sector, and the topics and speakers that we’ve got lined up will make for a great event!

“Last year’s conference was a great success, and we believe that it’s important to continue to bring people who work in and around agriculture together to discuss the ever-changing landscape of the industry, especially in the light of last year’s Brexit vote.

“We’re really interested to explore how farmers are moving away from the subsidy-based culture and adopting simple techniques that improve yield without intensive use of inputs such as fertilisers. LILIS gives us a stage to discuss these ideas.”

The conference will include lunch that will allow time for a networking session while delegates will also be able to join a tour of Lower Mill of Tynet Farm.

Held on June 16 from 11am to 3pm, tickets will cost £31.54 (including VAT and booking fee) and can be booked online at http://tinyurl.com/krcgdup.

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