Key groups get together to boost rural innovation

David Girvan cattle

A new support service to help farming, crofting and forestry businesses better innovate through collaboration will launch today.

The Rural Innovation Support Service (RISS) will be led by organic certification body, the Soil Association, alongside Scotland Food and Drink, SAC Consulting, Mint Sauce Consulting and the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS).

“Innovation is key to transforming our productivity as a country and is one of the four economic priorities of this government,” said Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing.

“Our rural businesses are blessed with the skills, expertise and potential to drive our economy forward. All they need is the right support at the right time, delivered in the right way.

“That is why I am delighted to be able to announce the launch of a new Rural Innovation Support Service, which will nurture the talent within our farming, food and forestry business, and accelerate the uptake of new technologies, new business models, and new forms of co-operation to improve productivity, sustainability and ultimately profitability.”

Soil Association Scotland’s farming and land use manager, David Michie, said some of the best ideas in farming come from farmers themselves.

He said: “RISS will enable farmers, foresters and crofters to figure out how to make their ideas work for their business.

“Our partnership of Soil Association Scotland, SAC Consulting, SAOS, and Scotland Food and Drink will reach across Scotland and along the supply chain – getting the right people together for innovation.”

The new Rural Innovation Support Service will be funded by the Scottish Rural Development Programme until spring 2020.

It forms part of the Make Innovation Happen intiative, which is the first step towards Ambition 2030 – Scotland Food and Drink’s aspiration to double the food and drink sector’s turnover to £30billion by 2030.