New film highlights livestock farmers’ key environmental role

A powerful short film has been launched to highlight the environmental credentials of livestock farming in Scotland and the role of farmers in maintaining Scotland’s world-famous landscape.

The film, which was commissioned by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), features Highland Perthshire farmer Martin Kennedy, vice president of NFU Scotland, filmed with his daughter Katrina on the 680ha family farm 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 ‘Know Your Beef’ campaign which aims to encourage consumers to really understand the care and commitment which goes into the production of Scotch Beef PGI.

“Scotch Beef is famous around the world for its exceptional quality and taste. However, the landscape our farmers take pride in maintaining and improving is equally renowned around the globe,” said Carol McLaren, director of marketing and communications at QMS.

It is vital there is better public understanding about the environmental benefits livestock farming brings and there is no-one better to tell the story than our farmers themselves.

“Martin’s farm, like many others, supports a range of wildlife, including a large number of curlews, which thrive on the habitat resulting from livestock grazing.”

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

“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,” he said.

Put simply, 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 emissions have also fallen 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. 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,” he added.