Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) has announced it is bringing its six research farms under one management in order to maximise academic activity and commercial research.
The farms, near Aberdeen, Crianlarich, Ayr, Dumfries, and at two sites near Edinburgh, extend to more than 4,400 hectares and exist as bases for research, education and knowledge transfer in dairying, arable, beef, upland/hill sheep systems, pig and poultry farming.
They will be overseen from April 2020 by new farm-partnership coordinator, George Baikie, who manages SAC Consulting’s regional offices.
Mr Baikie will oversee the use of the farms to support outdoor teaching and academic research, and he will develop partnerships with farmers across Scotland to expand the use of partner farms for both research and the teaching of students.
SRUC says the new role is “part of its journey towards becoming a 21st-Century enterprise university at the heart of the rural economy”.
SRUC director of commercialisation and innovation, Colin MacEwan, said the farms highlighted the college’s role in bringing together natural research, teaching and commercial activity.
He added: “We want to grow our impact through partnerships and by focusing on what we do best.
“George will be working with stakeholders to find ways for us to grow the rural economy for everyone, create new knowledge and develop a highly skilled workforce.”
Mr Baikie was born on a farm in Aberdeenshire and joined SAC Consulting in 1989.
He said: “I am delighted to be offered the chance to act as the advocate for SRUC farms, working with the wider agricultural community to make sure we meet our academic needs as a rural university in waiting.”