Poultry fares well in SRDP grant dispersal

THE Scottish poultry industry featured highly in yesterday's list of recipients for Scottish Rural Development Programme cash, with Glenrath farms, in Peebles, the country's largest egg producer, receiving £745,000 for upgrading two chicken sheds into the enriched colony system.

John Campbell of Glenrath said last night that the money would be used as part of a 40 million overhaul of their accommodation in the light of forthcoming changes to legislation.

But this was not the biggest award in the 60m of public cash announced by the cabinet secretary for rual affairs, Richard Lochhead, with a 1.646m grant going to former Grampian Country Food founder Fred Duncan.

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His farm manager, Dave Green, said that the cash was being used to convert some of his large pig units for keeping hens. Again the plan was to use the enriched colony system which operates to the latest welfare standards.

Two other farms in the north east also received SRDP funds to help either set up or convert their premises to egg-laying units. These are I & J McRae, in Huntly, who have received a grant of 226,000 towards the setting up of a 16,000-bird egg-laying unit and G Watson, by Fraserburgh, with a 129,000 grant to help convert their former dairy unit into a free-range-egg-laying enterprise.

In Dumfries and Galloway, a farm diversification sees Rory Young expand the family business away from beef cattle into egg laying. He will receive 559,847 to help towards the establishment of two 16,000-bird units.

In Tayside, Adamston Farms will get a grant of 321,156 towards improving the welfare aspects of their existing broiler production unit.

Forth Valley Free Range Eggs will receive a 115,000 grant to help expand their poultry enterprise in order to improve its long-term viability.

In the same area, Adam Nicolson, from Balfron, will receive 577,000 to help support his dairy enterprise.

The top award in the dairy sector is 1.092m, going to a dairy in the Nairn area to help expand their cow numbers from 700 up to 1,200 and a state of the art milking parlour.

In Orkney, Erland Wood will get a grant of 130,000 towards improving farm buildings.

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The biggest support for the pig industry comes with a 466,140 award to major pig producer, John Forbes, at Laurencekirk.

Covering as it does a wide range of rural activities, the rural secretary accepted there would be those who failed to get through the system.

"I can appreciate some people being unhappy. But the SRDP is the biggest scheme for channelling money into the rural economy," Lochhead said.