Helen Glass reports on this week’s ‘SEFARI co-op safari’

Helen Glass fills us in on this week’s tour for SEFARI scientists www.sefari.scot, giving them the opportunity to understand better the role, commitment and innovation taking place within Scotland’s agri co-ops:

“Eight SEFARI scientists, four cars and three agri co-ops sounds a bit like the something from a film set, but this was the scene for the programme for our SEFARI colleagues as part of SAOS’ commitment to engaging Scotland’s world class science base with our membership.

IMG_0138The tour began at East of Scotland Farmers with an introduction to co-operatives from SAOS Chief Exec, James Graham. The collective of soil experts, including a soil physicist; a sustainable cropping scientist; an animal health specialist; a nutritionist; a KE co-ordinator and even a mathematician, were then given an insight into East of Scotland Farmers’ operation where the message of ‘meeting the needs of their members’ was seeded.IMG_1062

A quick sprint around the corner to Ringlink showcased the multitude of services and the model of machinery rings. The group was delighted to meet a most enthusiastic young graduate who is on placement, and her insight into their membership survey stimulated much conversation from the SEFARI delegation.


Already a little behind schedule due to the depth of conversations, the motorcade made its way to Scottish Agronomy, where Adam rounded off the day with an insight into their R&D trials, and importantly their KE activities with their membership. The delegation then dispersed, but with a much better understanding of the co-operative model and how their science programmes can meet the strategic needs of our membership.”


Professor Lorna Dawson from the James Hutton Institute told us: “It was a really great and informative day, with several different examples of excellent co-operative ways of working between members. SEFARI Gateway sees this as a great opportunity to enhance the knowledge exchange with such like-minded groups. Hopefully the growing relationships will better enable  the flow of related research findings from SEFARI to the farmers and growers in the way that most helps them run their businesses and also better inform the future direction of the research.”

Our thanks to everyone who came along and to our co-ops for hosting the group.