From February 4, 2019, NFU Scotland will replace AHDB as one of the funders of the country's Dairy Hub, with AHDB recruiting an additional person to work with Scottish dairy farmers.

Operating for five years, the Dairy Hub is a free-to-use, confidential and reliable service that helps dairy farmers to resolve any queries they might have about their farm, their business and the wider market for milk and dairy.

Established in 2014, the hub has been joint-funded by AHDB and the Scottish Government and was established as a key recommendation of the Scottish Dairy Review 'Ambition 2025'.

The level of enquiries from dairy farmers means it has easily exceeded its initial targets and has become a valuable resource for Scottish dairy farmers from Shetland to Stranraer.

The Scottish Dairy Hub will remain open, providing impartial support to all dairy farmers and all organisations, supporting the industry across the dairy sector.

AHDB will now reallocate the funding to create a new dairy-focused role in Scotland. This second knowledge exchange manager position means the industry will have the support of two dairy experts who will work with farmers across Scotland on business and technical improvements. Recruitment for this role will begin immediately.

The switch in funding comes after NFUS and AHDB reviewed how best to work together to achieve a sustainable and profitable future for the Scottish dairy industry.

This fits well with the direct support and assistance the union provides to farmers and crofters. This allows AHDB to concentrate its resources on working with farmers to improve the resilience of their businesses, which underpins the dairy sector's ability to compete, grow and become sustainable.

Scottish Government support for the Scottish Dairy Hub will continue under the new operational structure.

The change will also see hub manager Stuart Martin join the policy team at NFUS.

NFU Scotland chief executive Scott Walker said: “I am delighted that Stuart is joining our policy team. As the dairy hub and policy manager, Stuart will bring a wealth of dairy experience to our highly respected policy team.

The dairy hub is highly regarded by dairy farmers and the dairy industry and I am keen to build on what is already a success.

“I am keen that we facilitate ways to grow the dairy industry in Scotland as a growing industry provides more opportunities for profitable dairy farming businesses. By joining NFUS and the Scottish Dairy Hub together this is something we can achieve.

'A genuine difference to farmers' lives'

Paul Flanagan, AHDB director for Scotland said: “The changes that we are announcing not only demonstrate a more joined-up way of working but, most importantly, it strengthens the routes we have to engage Scottish dairy farmers.

“Doubling the number of dairy knowledge exchange managers that AHDB has on the ground in Scotland will mean that we can better support dairy producers through this defining time for the food and farming industry.

“Stuart Martin has worked tirelessly on behalf of AHDB and the Scottish dairy sector these past five years and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for all the fantastic work he has done, and the genuine difference he has made to farmers’ lives."

Dairy Hub manager Stuart Martin added: “We have helped dairy farmers at all stages of their business lifespan, from students and new entrants to well-established farmers on a wide range of topics including information on nutrition, cow health, farm buildings, on-farm processing, grant availability and sourcing specific products.

“It is vitally important we continue this service to help all of Scotland’s dairy farmers meet the future challenges of the sector.”