Farm commitment honoured with new status

A Scots farm has been honoured for its high environmental standards and its commitment to sustainable farming.

LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) has this week announced Bowhill Farming Ltd as a LEAF Demonstration Farm – its fourth in Scotland.
Located in the Scottish Borders, Bowhill Farming Ltd is a 5,463-hectare mixed hill/upland enterprise and forms part of Buccleuch, one of lowland Scotland’s largest estates. The farm includes a herd of premium Aberdeen Angus cows, a suckler cow herd, a flock of Scottish Blackfaced breeding ewes and a large free-range poultry unit.

Arable cropping includes winter barley, spring barley, spring oats and kale, mainly for stock feed.

Some examples of the many ways Bowhill Farming Ltd implements Integrated Farm Management (IFM) include: animal husbandry – the farm’s attention to detail is second to none and its careful monitoring of herd and stock health ensures optimum performance and conservation with all farming operations being carried out with sensitivity to the environment.

The farm, for example, includes a large area of heather moor which is managed primarily for biodiversity, including black grouse leks.

The management team at Bowhill believe strongly in driving the connection with people and farming and the farm has a long tradition of welcoming visitors onto the estate and it offers open access for walkers. The farm is also an active member of Royal Highland Education Trust and hosts a number of visits throughout the year.

Alice Midmer, IFM Manager for LEAF, said: ‘It gives me great pleasure to welcome Bowhill Farming Ltd as LEAF’s fourth Demonstration Farm in Scotland.

‘Bowhill is an excellent example of IFM in action within a thriving business, particularly in the area of lowland and upland livestock systems and demonstrates that environmental management can and does have a positive impact on all aspects of the farm.

‘The farm offers a wealth of expertise and experience around sustainable farming and we are hugely excited about the opportunities this partnership will offer our members to improve the function, resilience and sustainability of farming systems.”

Farm Manager for Bowhill Farming Ltd, Sion Williams, said: ‘We are delighted to have been recognised by LEAF for our approach to sustainable farming and our consideration for the environment in which we operate. We pride ourselves on our animal husbandry and conservation credentials and believe passionately in the principles of IFM.

‘Maintaining and improving the wealth of wildlife features across the farm and wider estate here at Bowhill has always been a key priority for us – as has engaging with the public and raising awareness of the benefits of sustainable farming. Being part of a UK wide network of Demonstration Farms offers an exciting platform to build on our commitment to knowledge generation and exchange around sustainable farming.’

Bowhill Farming Ltd joins a UK wide network of over 40 Demonstration Farms set up to communicate, discuss and demonstrate IFM best practice to other farmers as well as wider groups such as politicians, industry groups and students.