Pasture for Life at the Ethical Farming conference
The Ethical Farming conference was co-organised by four farms in the south of Scotland – Mossgiel Farm, Peelham Farm, Rainton Farm and Whitmuir Organic. The programme explored a systems-based approach to farming and regenerative models of food production that address growing public concerns about climate change, biodiversity, social impact and animal welfare.
Over 200 farmers, academics, researchers and students attended the event which was organised around sustainability principles; highlighting locally produced foods, using recycled paper and avoiding single use plastic.
David and Wilma Finlay who hosted the conference at Rainton Farm are PFLA members and currently exploring Pasture for Life certification for their farm in Dumfries & Galloway. They have been farming organically for 20 years and running a calf at foot operation where calves can stay with their mothers until weaned, for seven years.
The PFLA team were there with a stand and PFLA Director Dr Angela Wright from Compassion in World Farming spoke about animal welfare and future considerations for better understanding the animal’s perspective. Other PFLA farmers spoke, including Denise Walton from Pasture for Life certified Peelham farm talking about how they have increased biodiversity on their farm, plus Bryce Cunningham from Mossgiel farm who plans to achieve Pasture for Life certification to be able to offer his customers ‘gold standard’ milk.
There was also international input to the conference with Texan ranchers Emry Birdwell and Deborah Clark (watch an interview with them here) speaking about their holistic planned grazing, Will Winter from Minnesota working for the American Grassfed Association, plus delegates from Sweden and elsewhere in Europe. Others watched the live stream from as far away as Brazil!
All delegates were very well catered for at lunch with produce from Rainton Farm, including an array of cheeses and ‘Rosy beef’ cooked over a wood fire and served up by PFLA member Nick Green. The rosy beef is young beef and a by-product of the Finlay’s dairy business and fed no grains, only pasture and mothers milk.
The day concluded with a farm tour and traditional Scottish ceilidh!
The conference was filmed and you can watch it back or read more about the day here.