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Scotland’s top butchers are sharpening their knives in preparation for a battle of skills this weekend.

The butchers will be displaying their professional talents during the finals of the Meat Skills Competition at this year’s SFMTA Scottish Meat Trades Fair, taking place in the Dewars Centre, Perth on Sunday.

Ensuring livestock farmers get the best out of their main asset - grass - is the aim of a new DVD launched this week.

The new Grassland Management DVD, which has been produced by Quality Meat Scotland in collaboration with the other UK levy bodies, highlights all aspects of grassland management – from reseeding to the use of clover, and covers techniques such as outwintering and deferred grazing.

Quality Meat Scotland, the Scottish red meat promotion body, is sponsoring the beef at tonight’s (Friday 1st May) opening dinner for the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, one of the flagship events of this year’s Homecoming celebrations.

Over 350 guests at the sell out evening in Dufftown will enjoy a dinner of Scotch Beef sourced from Aberdeenshire farms and supplied by Scotch Premier, the Inverurie based meat company. The First Minister Alex Salmond will make the key note speech.

More than 50 chefs from throughout Scotland have been learning about the opportunities in using everything but the ‘oink’ from pig carcases to help profitability.

The sold-out event, which took place at Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire today (21 Apr) gave members of Quality Meat Scotland to show how Specially Selected Pork can be a exciting, cost effective and flexible addition to the best restaurant menus.

Quality Meat Scotland has welcomed the announcement that its assurance schemes fees are to be eligible for support under the Scottish Rural Development Programme.

Farmers in the QMS Cattle and Sheep and the QMS Pigs schemes will be able to claim support to cover 50 percent of the membership fees up to a maximum of £150 per scheme per year.

A new nationwide pig health project has progressed with the appointment of a new Pig Veterinary Adviser.

Experienced vet Iain Mortimer has been appointed to work with the industry and national organisations to achieve and maintain a high health status for the Scottish pig sector.

Beginning in May, funding for the position comes from the £1 million package announced in August last year by the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment Richard Lochhead, after consultation with the Scottish pig industry.

Scots shoppers are being told to look for the label at the launch of a new Specially Selected Pork campaign.

The spring campaign kicks off this week and includes brand new outdoor ads covering both billboards and smaller 6-sheet or bus-shelter formats, over a four week period as well as branded taxis in Glasgow and Edinburgh for the next year.

Both will still use the popular “get some pork on that fork” line, but also go further to get shoppers to look for the label and choose Specially Selected Pork.

The doors to a major new international market have been opened, with the United Arab Emirates lifting their foot and mouth related restrictions on the import of lamb from the whole of the United Kingdom.