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£21m project will put area on map

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By Fiona Reid
Farming
£21m project will put area on map

THE South-West of Scotland and Cumbria will become the “go to” region for future investment in high-tech dairy processing and the creation of 100s of new jobs.

That’s the prediction after the launch of the £21 million Digital Dairy Chain at the Barony Campus near Dumfries.

Led by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), the project will see the development of a fully integrated and traceable dairy supply chain, which will eventually lead to the creation of more than 600 jobs and generate £60m a year of additional value.

It will do this by attracting large dairy processors to the region, supporting investment in industry-focussed research and development and by turning the two areas into a “magnet” for tech companies.

Supported by £21.3m from the UK Government’s Strength in Places Fund, the Digital Dairy Chain’s initial focus will be on the use of sensors and data from dairy herds and how it can be utilised to produce more and better dairy products.

UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: “The Borderlands are home to many innovative dairy farmers and producers who are boosting the value of their industry and the region’s economy while also making significant improvements in both sustainability and welfare.

“The UK Government’s £21.3 million investment will help the development of these innovations by supporting the use of sensors and data right across the industry.

“We are also investing £4m in the flagship Dairy Nexus facility at the Barony Campus as part of our £265m investment in the Borderlands Growth Deal.”

Professor Wayne Powell, principal and chief executive of SRUC, said: “Working with local and national businesses, the Digital Dairy Chain will transform the region’s dairy production systems and establish it as a global leader in advanced, sustainable and high-value dairy manufacturing.

“It will foster entrepreneurship, create new market opportunities, add new skills to the workforce and lay the foundations for more productive regions, all while making the critical journey towards net zero.”

Cumbria and South-West Scotland is the UK’s second largest milk field, producing 1.9 billion litres each year, with a farm-gate value of £750 million. There are 52 dairy manufacturing businesses adding value to milk produced from 1300 farms.

  • To find out more about the Digital Dairy Chain, visit www.digitaldairychain.co.uk
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