Young farmers from the UK are among the first in the world to experience Rotterdam's floating dairy in action on a recent learning journey to the Netherlands.
As the first visitors, the group of twenty tasted the success of farming innovation, sampling one of the first batches of bottled milk produced by the farm.
The visit comes as the first cows arrived at the self-sufficient Floating Farm on 13 May. The animals will produce around 800 litres of milk per day.
Dairy farmer and Chair of the NFU Scotland Next Generation, Colin Ferguson, said 'Dutch innovation' is inspiring.
He highlighted that the farm was an example of how innovation was adding value to the industry and also showing the value of food production.
“The project was very much a proof of concept rather than a wholly commercial enterprise but it was clear that it had created positive discussion and excitement for dairy farming within the city.
“It wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine something similar in any of our cities within the UK,” he said.
The floating farm wasn’t the only tour to leave delegates swimming with ideas. The farmers also visited a carbon neutral chicken farm and PigMe, a business where pigs are farmed and lazed in fields, forests and meadows over 10 locations close to the consumer with dedicated caretakers.
Mr Ferguson said it's important that farmers see first-hand how innovation can 'transform and challenge' traditional farming practices and engage urban consumers in a 'meaningful and transparent' way.
He said: “For example, one of the farms we visited Kipster, has a 24hr viewing room of their chickens which is a new way of thinking to educate the public.
“The consumer will always purchase cheap food, it is our responsibility as farmers to share our stories and add the value to our supply chain,” he added
The learning journey was a collaboration between Scottish Enterprise, Rural Youth Project, Jane Craigie Marketing, Rural Youth Project vlogger and tour guide Dirk-Jan Kloet with an aim to challenge delegates to “think different” on the urban and rural divide.
Co-convener of the trip, Jane Craigie co-director and founder of the Rural Youth Project, said communication and innovation can connect rural and city together.
“The Dutch have a real aptitude for harnessing the power of storytelling to connect with consumers and they’re constantly pushing boundaries when it comes to agriculture and business.
“Rotterdam’s floating dairy is just one example of how Dutch innovation is challenging contemporary ideals,” she said.