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Productive Year for Veterinary & Advisory Services Programme

Published Wednesday, 17th June 2015 in Veterinary Services news

Activities undertaken by Scotland’s Rural College in delivering the Scottish Government’s £7.4 million Veterinary and Advisory Services (VAS) programme have been outlined in the VAS annual report.

The annually commissioned VAS programme aims to grow a dynamic rural sector while protecting Scotland’s natural environment. It also allows the Scottish Government to meet a range of statutory obligations.

The programme covers livestock disease surveillance and animal health planning and welfare as well as a range of policy objectives including climate mitigation, pollution control, diversification, food marketing, crop health, conservation, and farming and crofting in remote areas.

One success of the last year has been the Farming for a Better Climate (FFBC) initiative which supports increased efficiency on Scottish farms while highlighting ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Nine Climate Change Focus Farms are now participating in the scheme across the country.

Integrated pest management for crops has been particularly topical throughout 2014/15 providing a holistic approach to managing pest, weed and disease problems in light of changing legislation.

Successful food and drink activities, from local food and drink events to growing food networks, have been delivered across Scotland – a number through the Think Local initiative.  The focus on Scotland’s successful food and drink sector continues with a range of innovative events and activities throughout Scotland’s Year of Food & Drink 2015.

The Scottish Government’s New Entrants’ programme continues to grow with 10 facilitated groups across Scotland and over 170 new entrants now engaged in the programme.  New entrants have received advice and have developed business relevant skills through a series of bespoke workshops.

Ceri Ritchie, VAS Programme Manager with SRUC said: “With 90% of delegates rating VAS programme events as ‘very satisfactory’ or ‘excellent’, and 89% of them indicating that they will implement what they have learned, the VAS programme is a success story for Scotland’s rural sector.

“Success also comes from the range of SRUC specialists delivering the advice and the ability to run collaborative and multi-faceted events.  With SRUC’s network of offices across Scotland all land managers, irrespective of size or location, have access to up-to-date and relevant business advice.”

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