AHDB’s recently appointed director for Scotland is not short of ambition for the organisation.
The first ever holder of the post, Paul Flanagan, wants the levy-funded body to ‘up its game’ north of the border in the work it does on dairy, horticulture, cereals and potatoes.
He supervises 10 staff in Scotland, mostly employed in knowledge exchange (KE) as well as continuing in his UK-wide role as AHDB director of dairy.
Speaking just ahead of the launch of a 10-year review of AHDB activities, Mr Flanagan said: “I hope as many levy payers as possible give us their views before the mid-November deadline.”
The AHDB remit in England also covers beef, sheep and pigs, whereas in Scotland these commodity areas are covered by Quality Meat Scotland.
Mr Flanagan insists this situation is workable and that the two bodies co-operate well to deliver the Farm Excellence Programme through its nine monitor farms.
AHDB also has an established Strategic Potato farm project in East Perthshire and a recently launched Strategic Dairy farm in Lanarkshire.
Mr Flanagan praised the use of the £2 million each year which is ring-fenced for use jointly by AHDB, QMS and Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) to develop overseas markets and to fund a recently launched campaign linking meat eating with a healthy lifestyle.
The fund is supposed to be an interim solution to slaughter levy repatriation between England, Wales and Scotland – a problem which the AHDB review has the potential to solve.
A major part of Mr Flanagan’s new task will be liaising with the representative bodies in Scotland and with the research institutes.
AHDB raises £3m in levies from Scottish farmers, but spends £7m on research with bodies such as the James Hutton Institute and SASA (Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture).
Mr Flanagan was formerly communications director with First Milk.