EU’s largest sheep farmer sells bulk of his Scottish farm

A man widely credited to be Europe’s largest sheep farmer has revealed that he has sold the bulk of his 37,000 acre farm in Scotland.


John Cameron, a former president of NFU Scotland, announced on Tues (10 Jan) that he has reached agreement to sell 36,850 acres of land in West Perthshire and in the East Neuk of Fife to one buyer – the Edinmore Group.


Mr Cameron said: “My wife Margaret and I are not getting any younger, but we are not retiring, just winding the scale of our operations.


“We have thought long and hard about this because we have no family and no direct relatives and we want a little bit more time to ourselves to do lots of things.


“So we have decided sell five of the seven farms, which cover around 1,200acres in Fife with the rest being in West Perthshire at Glen Lochay and Ivermearan.”


The sale is highly unusual in that Mr Cameron was determined to strike a private “deal on a lock, stock and barrel” basis with the buyer giving a commitment to retain the existing 12 employees.


The sale includes 8,500 ewes, 2,000 ewe hoggs and 120 suckler cows on the hill farms as well 300 cows, plus feeding cattle and sheep on the Fife farms.


Mr Cameron added: “I was particularly anxious that the staff be keep on, many of them have been with us for many years and their future is very important.


“I was warned by my advisers that seeking the kind of deal I was after would cut down the number of potential bidders very considerably.


“I might have got a higher price by selling the units and selling them separately, but I wanted to leave these farms with my stamp on them.”


Angus Crow, the managing director of Edinmore, which is a subsidiary of the Edinburgh-based Caledonian Investments, commented on the acquisition.


“Its reputation is second to none, with an outstanding track record in management and quality,” he said.


“We are very pleased to have reached agreement on this significant purchase and look forward to reviewing all the various aspects of the business. No further comment will be made on future plans at this time.”


The details of the purchase price have so far not been revealed.


Mr Cameron will continue to be involved with Quality Meat Scotland, the National Beef Association and the National Sheep Association.