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Two decades ago this month the Scottish red meat industry launched its pioneering Farm Assurance Scheme and the occasion was commemorated at today’s Royal Highland Winter Fair.

Scotland was at the world forefront of farm assurance when the scheme was launched in November 1990, aimed at providing consumers with vital assurance about the quality and “wholesomeness” of the red meat they were purchasing.

A Perthshire farmer at the forefront of promoting the use of performance recording in sheep breeding has been recognised at the Royal Highland Winter Fair today (24 November 2010).

Alex Brewster from Rotmell, near Pitlochry was presented with the Johnston Carmichael Trophy by Neil Steven, Director Edinburgh Office, Johnston Carmichael and Rod McKenzie, Scottish Sheep Strategy Manager.

The trophy is awarded annually to the person or persons who have worked hard to raise the profile of livestock performance recording in Scotland.

An Argyllshire pupil has this week been named Scotland’s top hospitality student.

Claire Hamilton, a fifth form pupil at Dunoon Grammar School, has emerged as the country’s top student among around 6000 Scottish students taking the hospitality practical cookery Intermediate 2 course.

Quality Meat Scotland is next week holding a seminar and demonstration aimed at tackling an issue that costs Scottish farmers thousands of pounds a year.

Foot lameness in sheep is a problem all producers have to deal with at some time and at this year’s Royal Highland Winter Fair on 24th November, QMS is holding a practical seminar to help farmers deal with the problem.

Producers attending the latest meeting of the Moray and Nairn monitor farm were urged to make the most of Scottish Government subsidised BVD blood testing available until March 2011.

Scotland’s national BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhoea) scheme was launched in September and the disease, regarded by vets as the most significant cattle disease in Europe and North America, was the main topic at the recent Moray and Nairn Monitor Farm meeting.

Beef producers at AgriScot today (Wednesday 17th November) were urged to take advantage of EBV calving ease information given the “horrendous” financial and workload implications of difficult calvings.

Highlighting the reduced labour available on modern livestock farms, Quality Meat Scotland’s Livestock Development Manager, Kathy Peebles, said it was now imperative the industry takes calving ease EBVs on board.

A new chair and five new members have been appointed to the Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) Board by the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment.

Richard Lochhead confirmed the appointments today ahead of speaking at the Agriscot event tomorrow.

Current NFU Scotland President Jim McLaren is to take over from Donald Biggar as the Chairman of QMS in April 2011. The other new board members, who will also join in April 2011, are John Scott, Johnny Mackey, David Sole and John Craig.

Hill Producers Remain Under Pressure

In general Scottish beef and sheep producers saw some improvement in margins during 2009, according to a report published today.