John is the UK’s most pre-eminent deer vet. He graduated from Glasgow University, and gained his doctorate at Cambridge University for research into breeding behaviour of enclosed and wild deer on the Isle of Rum. He is a leading specialist in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease in deer.
He has played a crucial role in the development of deer farming in the UK and Europe from the late 70s and his advice and consultancy has led to the establishment of deer farming enterprises in the UK, Europe, USA, the Far East and New Zealand.
As well as numerous scientific papers, he is also author of a number of books including Fletcher’s Game, which tells the history of modern deer farming and his own experiences in establishing Reediehill Deer Farm in Fife, Britain’s first commercial deer farm. His latest book Gardens of Earthly Delight: The History of Deer Parks was published in 2011.
The Venison Advisory Service (VAS) and Chartered Surveyors Bell Ingram, have teamed up to stage two Introduction to Deer Farming days in Scotland, one in Perthshire on Thursday 26 July, and a second in the north in September.
The demonstration days will provide the opportunity to hear from professionals and experts in deer farming, on subjects including herd management and stocking, fencing and equipment requirements, finance and land management.
The Perthshire day, for which bookings are now being accepted, takes place at the village hall, Kinloch Rannoch and at Innerhadden Deer Farm. Speakers in the morning will include Malcolm Taylor of Bell Ingram, Alan Sneddon and John Fletcher of VAS, and Richard Barclay of Innerhadden. There will be a guided visit to the Innerhadden deer farm in the afternoon.
Venison is an increasingly available alternative to other red meats and is prized for its health qualities although venison imports to the UK from New Zealand have reduced in the last two years.
Dick Playfair, Director, The Venison Advisory Service Ltd, says:
“With New Zealand prioritising other markets in Europe and elsewhere over the UK as well as having reduced its herd size, albeit this is now being rebuilt, there is a real opportunity for UK producers to get their foot even more firmly in the door. Coupled with this, and following Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing’s venison summit earlier this year, a strategic plan is currently being prepared for all Scottish Venison which will fit with Scotland Food and Drink’s Ambition 2030. These are exciting times for the venison sector and we are pleased to be teaming up with Bell Ingram to spread the word.”
Malcolm Taylor, Partner, Bell Ingram, says:
“We are delighted to be involved with the Venison Advisory Service and help promote deer farming in Scotland, especially at such an opportune time for the sector. Deer farming provides a real opportunity for new entrants and existing farmers who are looking to diversify and offers an alternative use for upland farms. As agents for the Agricultural Mortgage Corporation, we are looking forward to seeing if we can assist with financing for new deer farms.”
VAS will be joining Bell Ingram on their stand at the RHS on Thursday 21 June, the GWCT Scottish Game Fair on Friday 29 June and Moy Game Fair on Friday 3 August. Everyone is welcome to come along and ask any questions they may have, whilst enjoying a drink and some nibbles.
Places for the Introduction to Deer Farming day at Kinloch Rannoch are limited and are available on a ‘first come’ basis. To book a place contact Charlotte Gilfillan at Bell Ingram, Tel: 01307 462516
More about Bell-Ingram here: www.bellingram.co.uk
Latest information from the Scottish Venison Partnership about the UK venison market here: http://www.scottish-venison.info/index.php?page=venison-market-update
A BDFPA open day is being held at Cassafuir Farm, Blairhoyle, Port of Menteith FK8 3LF on Saturday 29 April 2017 from 09.30 – 15.30hrs by kind permission of Jamie and Natalie Hammond. The full day event gives a comprehensive picture particularly to aspirational deer farmers about entry to the sector and getting started and includes what is sure to be an inspirational talk by Tom Lewis of Monachyle Mhor on a chef’s view of venison.
The day comprises a series of morning presentations followed by a farm visit with plenty of time for discussion and networking. Cost is £20 per delegate for BDFPA members, £30 for non-members.
The day is sponsored by the Venison Advisory Service and Tornado Fencing.
A full programme for the day is available here.
“Deer farmers have this week been informed the future is still bright with increased demand for venison outstripping an estimated 5 per cent annual increase in production.”
A joint Lowland Deer Network Scotland – Scottish Land & Estates ‘Walk and Talk’ event will be held at Caddonfoot Hall, Clovenfords TD1 3LG, Yair Hill Forest and Torwoodlee and Buckholm Estates on Wednesday 8 June 2016
The final demonstration day in the 2015 series will take place in Fife on Friday 20 November.
The next deer farm and park demonstration project event takes place at Borgue Village Hall and Gledpark, Borgue, Dumfries and Galloway (courtesy of Rupert Shaw) on Tuesday 15 September 2015.
The Deer Farm and Park Demonstration Project in 2015 will be based at a number of different locations rather than just one. Venues will be Clathic, Crieff, Perthshire, and Gledpark, Borgue, Dumfries & Galloway. There will be two days held at each location and a final day at a third location yet to be decided.
An excellent new report on the health qualities of venison and the requirement and work being done to increase venison production in Scotland has been published by the Food Health Innovation Service in Scotland.
Download the report (PDF, 665 kB).
John Fletcher is a speaker at the Farming Scotland Conference, ‘Progress to Profit’ which takes place in Carnoustie on 5 February 2015. John, a deer farmer, vet, and a director of Venison Advisory Service Ltd, will be speaking on The Background to the Recent Upsurge in Scottish Deer Farms and Venison Production.
Other speakers at the conference, which is sponsored by EQ Accountants, Bell Ingram, Thorntons Law and RBS, include Professor Nick Hanley, Environmental Economist, St Andrews University; Angus Duncan, Head of Procurement, Diageo International Supply, and Jonathan Skinner, Farmers Weekly Young Farmer of the Year 2013.
The latest edition of Rural Business News from Saffery Champness carries an informative article from Susie Swift of the firm’s Inverness office on tax and business planning considerations for prospective deer farmers. Read the article.