Video: Farmer highlights environmental credentials of livestock farming

Martin Kennedy said Scottish farmers are world-renowned when it comes to animal welfare
Martin Kennedy said Scottish farmers are world-renowned when it comes to animal welfare

A new short film has been launched which highlights the environmental credentials of livestock farming in Scotland's most remote areas.

The film features Highland Perthshire farmer Martin Kennedy filmed with his daughter Katrina on the 680-hectare family farm, Lurgan, near Aberfeldy.

The farm runs around 60 cattle – Highlanders and continental crosses – and 600 ewes.

It has been produced as part of Quality Meat Scotland’s (QMS) “Know Your Beef” campaign which aims to encourage consumers to understand thee commitment which goes into the production of Scotch Beef PGI.

The video also highlights frustration felt by Martin and others in the Scottish red meat industry that not enough recognition is given of the role of Scotland’s grassland in carbon capture.

The farmer, who is also vice president of NFU Scotland, said: “There are people out there just now who are quite critical with regard to the emissions that cattle are producing but nobody gives us the recognition for their role in maintaining the landscape they are grazing and keeping that land in a carbon capturing state.”

This means the grass farmers grow to feed their livestock captures CO2 from the atmosphere. This is stored in the grass and the soil and helps to offset livestock emissions.

Scottish agriculture also has a strong story to tell in terms of reducing its carbon footprint with emissions reducing by 27% from 1990 to 2010 and the industry continues to strive to improve efficiency and further reduce waste.

“The vast majority of the land in Scotland used for farming and crofting is very marginal,” Martin said.

“We can’t actually grow crops like cereals, fruit or vegetables but we can provide a habitat for livestock to not only look after the environment but also produce that high-quality, nutritious product that Scotland is famous for.”

Martin also pointed out that Scottish farmers are world-renowned when it comes to animal welfare. He said welfare, along with quality assurance, is probably one of our best unique selling points

“The landscape we look after has been here for centuries and will be here for centuries to come so it’s really important in our role as Scottish farmers and crofters that we look after this fantastic environment.

“I have been farming all my life and I am extremely proud to be able to hand over the mantle to the next generation,” he added.