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The Smallholder Scotland Conference 2018

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Rosemary Champion.

The first Smallholding Scotland Conference will take place on the 16th of February at Pitcairngreen Hall in Perth. An essential event for anyone with an interest in smallholding and small-scale farming, the conference is aimed primarily at those with already established small holdings, and those who aspire to enter the world of small-scale horticulture and agriculture. Recent Scottish Government figures suggest that there are around 20,000 smallholdings in Scotland ‒ over one third of the total number of holdings ‒ and the conference will seek to examine topical and pertinent issues for this substantial sector of the agricultural economy. Soil health and sustainable management of soils is currently a hot topic across agriculture, including at the smallholding scale, and delegates will hear from crop and environmental expert, Audrey Litterick, on the GREAT Soils Project, and an established smallholder, Lorraine Ishak, on a permaculture project funded by Tesco. Health and safety will also be a talking point on the day, with a presentation on the subject given by Risk Services consultant, Stuart Daly, from NFU Mutual, which is sponsoring the event. Further topics set to be covered at the conference include the care of new-born livestock, the use of social media, and routes to market for agricultural produce. Rosemary Champion of the Accidental Smallholder and co-founder of the Scottish Smallholder Festival, one of the conference organisers, and Co-Chair of the new member body, Smallholding Scotland, said: “This first conference under the banner of Smallholding Scotland is an important milestone for our new organisation and will help to inform our future work. We might not be able to host a representative from all 20,000 smallholdings in the venue, but we do believe that our line-up of first-class speakers should attract a good audience eager to learn something new to take back to their own smallholding enterprise.” Brian Lochhead from the Glasgow offices of specialist rural insurer, NFU Mutual, commented: “NFU Mutual is keen to help the smallholding community to continue to prosper for the long term. We are delighted to sponsor the Smallholding Scotland Conference as it seeks to showcase best practice and facilitate the discussion of key issues for those farming on a smaller scale. We are particularly keen to emphasise the importance of health and safety on the smallholding, given the unfortunate performance of the agricultural sector as a whole – across all sizes of holdings – in the league table for industrial accidents.” Visit www.smallhlding.scot for more information about the new organisation, and for details of how to book a ticket for the conference.

About the Author:

Paul Melnyczuk is editor of Home Farmer, and together with Ruth Tott is the founder of the company. His Ukrainian father and Austrian mother came over in the 1950s, and he was raised near Accrington (of Stanley fame) in Lancashire. With a degree in European Literature and a year spent living in Sweden, and a further 2 years in the Sudan, his background is rich and varied.

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