Abattoir Plans Discussed By Farming Initiative

Members of the Farmer’s group at a farm visit in June

The Isles of Scilly Farming Initiative had their first steering group meeting last week and group member Ben Julian says the discussions about the abattoir were high on the agenda.

He said the clock is ticking with respect to any potential EU funding and they need to decide on the next steps soon.

The cost of setting up and operating the facility, which may cost £450,000, has concerned some farmers. Over half of that investment would require private funding.

Ben said there are plans on the table for the abattoir and the money is earmarked but they just need to work out who will move it forward. They’re going to hold a meeting at the end of the month for all livestock farmers with an interest in the project.

But it’s not a forgone conclusion. Ben says there’s a chance that they might decide not to push for the abattoir, but there could be other options, such as having a more organised approach for transporting animals to the mainland.

The group arranged a visit for around thirty local farmers and food producers to St Agnes yesterday to learn more about farming techniques on the island. The group visited Troy Town farm, to look at their dairy and ice-cream operation and then toured Fran Hicks’ flower farm.

It’s the second site visit organised by the newly formed Initiative and Ben says it gives local producers a chance to see how other farmers on the islands are operating.

He said farmers can become quite isolated, especially here in Scilly, as they don’t get the opportunities that their mainland counterparts do to meet up and chat, such as weekly markets.

Ben said they’ll be planning more visits in the coming months, including one to Paul Christopher’s beef farm on Tresco. They’ll also be bringing in a grassland expert from the mainland to help with training.


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