A NUMBER of new entrants have already taken advantage of a new finance scheme launched last month by Aberdeen & Northern Marts (ANM) to stimulate beef production and help reverse the decline in Scotland’s national beef herd.
The scheme is open to new entrants irrespective of age and is available both to those coming into farming for the first time and established farmers switching from other enterprises into beef production.
“Interest has been good and a number of applications have been accepted from new entrants who have put up a good case,” said Pat Machray, chief executive of ANM. “We haven’t got a lot of money to throw at the scheme but, as a farmers’ co-operative, we are keen to help where we can.”
All applications will have to be approved by a sub-committee of the board and will qualify for a reduced rate of interest on the first £30,000 invested in store cattle under the mart’s existing stock on agreement arrangement – basically a loan scheme to help members of the co-op to buy stock.
Consideration is also being given to a scheme to assist farmers buying young stock – both cattle and sheep - for breeding but final details have still to be worked out.
Scotland’s beef herd has been in decline for the past ten years and although there was a slight increase last year, a further sharp drop of 7 per cent in calf registrations under the Scottish Beef Calf Scheme has been recorded in the past year.