Sisters Kirsty and Aimee Budge took over the running of Bigton Farm in Shetland in 2014, with family support. The Budge family have farmed at Bigton since 1860, initially as tenants before Kirsty’s and Aimee’s great grandfather bought the farm in 1950. The family also own nearby Toab Farm with the two farms being run side by side.
In total the farm comprises 300 hectares, most which is permanent pasture and intensive grassland. They have 240 Shetland cross Cheviot ewes which are kept on the stunning 80 hectares St Ninians Isle most of the year, which can be accessed from the farm by a sandy causeway. The sisters also have 70 spring calving Saler cross Shorthorn sucklers.
Bigton farm is one of just a handful of farms on Shetland which is suited to growing barley. The family harvested approximately 60 tonnes of barley this year, and they are keen to increase their barley output in the future as they feel that there is a strong market opportunity to sell it on the islands.
The Budges hope that being monitor farmers will not only help them develop their business and learn more about how they can make it more profitable, but that other farmers and crofters on Shetland will benefit from the programme too.
Aimee Budge said: “Shetland is a beautiful place to live and work and has a wonderful farming community. People here are incredibly friendly and supportive and we really hope that the local farmers will get involved and make the project successful”.
For more information on Shetland Monitor Farm meetings contact Graham Fraser, one of the facilitators on 01595 693520 / FBSLerwick@sac.co.uk