From Highland herding to policy ploughing with Scottish farmer Duncan Macalister

From Highland herding to policy ploughing with Scottish farmer Duncan Macalister

Over in the depths of West Scotland, Duncan Macalister farms about 2000 acres at Glenbar Farms on the Kintyre Peninsula. He's also a member of the Scottish Farmers Union and is deeply ingrained in the Scottish farming community both inside and outside the farm gates.

The episode kicks off with Macalister sharing fond memories of New Zealand and his upcoming 60th birthday plans with Dom George, offering a glimpse into his rich life experiences. 

“I've never been to Cardiff's a bloody awkward place to get to from here," he muses as he recounts his travel stories and a humorous lamb rescue in New Zealand that left the local farmers laughing. 

As the conversation progresses, the focus shifts to the serious challenges facing farmers today. Macalister delves into the implications of the EU's green deal and fuel taxation, noting the powerful protests by French farmers. 

“Farmers, like in Europe, are thinking pretty much the way we are here."

"They've had enough...we're the ones that are producing the food. You can't manage without food." 

The discussion becomes even more pressing as they confront the potential future of agriculture, marked by subsidy cuts, corporate farming threats, and the rise of lab-grown food alternatives. 

The critical need to preserve traditional farming knowledge is highlighted against the backdrop of staffing shortages and the urgent call for cross-border cooperation. 

“If you do it corporately and nobody's actually invested in making the land work, it doesn't work… looking after land is a skill, it's an art and it's a way of life, you can't really corporate it, it doesn't work." 

The episode serves as a rich tapestry of storytelling and insightful dialogue, painting a vivid picture of the interconnectedness of rural livelihoods and global policy shifts, and the need for a unified response to safeguard traditional farming practices amidst a rapidly changing world.

Listen to the full chat between Duncan Macalister and Dominic George above.

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