A GROUP of young farmers will later this year swap a dreich December in Scotland for sun-soaked South America, when they take part in a study tour to Argentina.
Organised by the by the Scottish Association of Young Farmers recently re-launched agri and rural affairs committee, the organisation yesterday said that the trip was aimed at inspiring and informing the delegates – and ensuring that Scottish agriculture was “future-proofed”.
Although much larger than the home country, with an emphasis on beef and cereal production, Argentina operates in many of the same fields as Scottish farmers. “Argentinian agriculture poses challenges and opportunities for farming in the UK,” said Scott Somerville, chairman of the agri and rural affairs committee.
“It is our aim to learn from their practice of technology adoption and to identify the direction of their farming industry and what that means for farming here in Britain.”
For the first time, the Home Grown Cereals Authority will support the group – whose members will provide feedback on what they have learnt to HGCA’s monitor farms in Scotland on their return, sharing their perspective and findings with local growers.
The 16 participants, who are in the process of raising further funds to support the itinerary, will spend a fortnight looking at agriculture in the South American country, both at grass root level and within the business and political arena. The aim is to understand the processes that underpin current production methods and the direction of future progression.
Gavin Dick, HGCA manager for Scotland, said: “It’s important that we support our young farmers in order to future-proof our industry.
“This study trip is a great opportunity for the group to experience production systems and management practices in South America, and then to apply what they’ve learned in the UK, where their own communities can benefit from their findings.”
The Cameron Travel Scholarship Trust, which is also supporting the trip, said that the knowledge and experience gained would enhance the skills of the attendees and help them in their business life when they returned to Scotland.
The trip will coincide with the main thrust of the harvest in Argentina and the delegates will see crops of soya bean and maize in their early stages while wheat, oilseed rape and barley harvests will be underway.
The itinerary will see the group visit small and large-scale units across the arable and livestock sectors, as well as processing and trade facilities.
Anyone interested in offering sponsorship for the trip should contact the SAYFC at Ingliston.