A digital dairy project aiming to create 600 new jobs in south west Scotland and Cumbria has been awarded more than £21 million of funding.
It is expected the Digital Dairy Value-Chain could generate an additional £60m a year for a region which produces nearly two billion litres of milk a year.
The project will aim to provide a platform for research and business innovation in advanced, sustainable, high-value dairy production and processing.
As well as helping to decarbonise the region’s dairy industry, it will help to develop a skilled workforce in the area to create new products and new ways of working.
These will be special to the region but also globally relevant in best practices and changing the perception of dairy as a high-value product.
The Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) project will also work with farmers to develop technologies for sensing and data handling, as well as infrastructure to support innovation and growth for local dairy firms.
The £21.3m project also has an aim to nurture young dairy entrepreneurs, and teaching and training of new skills and capabilities for the sector.
After receiving funding from the UKRI Strength in Places fund, the project will be based at SRUC’s Barony campus near Dumfries, as well as at sites in Cumbria and across south west Scotland.
Professor Wayne Powell, principal of SRUC, said the project would 'provide a world-class platform for business innovation in advanced, sustainable, high-value dairy production and processing.'
Jo Lappin, chief executive of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, said that importantly, the project would help to decarbonise the industry.
“The dairy industry is an important part of Cumbria’s economy and we are therefore delighted that SRUC has received £21 million to support the sector here and in south west Scotland.
“Digital Dairy Value-Chain will help to deliver more jobs in the sector, alongside stimulating research and innovation to support our farmers to develop their businesses."