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Bull Scheme’s Future Commitment Welcomed

NFU Scotland has welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement that it will upgrade the government-run bull stud in Inverness, as per the recommendations of the independent Bull Hire Scheme Review Group, established by the Scottish Government in 2009, in which NFU Scotland played a full role.

The scheme has allowed farmers with small numbers of breeding cows affordable access to high quality, healthy bulls for more than a century.  However, the Shucksmith inquiry into the future of crofting, which presented its report in 2008, recommended that the scheme should be wound down.  NFU Scotland has since campaigned for the scheme to be retained and improved so that its benefits are not lost and that it operates in a more cost effective and efficient manner.

A feature of the scheme is that, once the bulls’ services are no longer required, they are returned to the scheme allowing crofters living in remote areas to avoid the difficulties of over-wintering valuable bulls in unsuitable conditions.  The scheme has resulted in significant improvements in the stock from these disadvantaged areas and has underpinned their improving health status.

NFU Scotland’s Crofting, Highlands and Islands Committee Chairwoman, Jo Durno, who also sat on the independent Bull Hire Scheme Review Group, said:

“I am delighted that the Scottish Government has accepted the review group’s findings and seen fit to continue the Bull Hire Scheme, and I am looking forward to seeing further details of how this might be managed.

“There is no doubt that the scheme has provided tremendous value to crofters and to the farming community at large in terms of better quality breeding stock.  The Bull Hire Scheme Review Group and I strongly believe that this should continue and that it can be done in an efficient way.”

Ends

Contact Sarah Anderson on 0131 472 4108

Date Published:

News Article No.: 22/10


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