About the Farm

People in protective clothing in the deer processing facility at Stagison venison farm in Scotland

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New jobs at new venison processing facility

A Scottish family venison processing firm this year opened its doors to a new £0.5m facility in Fife, creating new jobs and prospects for the area.

Stagison launched the new high quality, venison care and processing plant earlier this year along with a number of nutritional research programs on the benefits of deer farming and venison for consumption at Cupar in Fife.

The 3,700 sq ft facility includes high-performance deer handling systems, inspection and care pens, a new concept abattoir, adapted especially for the wellbeing of deer and production lines for meat, offal and by-products as well as a butchery and packaging plant for preparing new products for the market.

Group of deer in fluffy straw bed at Stagison deer farm in ScotlandWell known for animal care

Opened by the Prentice family, who have been farming in Fife since 2002. They are well known for their special adaptations on animal care and handling to ensure the highest quality produce from the healthiest of animals. They currently supply meats to a number of high profile UK operators throughout Scotland and England.

How the project was funded:

The project was funded with the help of the Food Processing, Marketing and Co-operation Grant Scheme jointly funded by the Scottish Government and the EU, and is set to bring over £1m in sales back to the Scottish food sector. The new centre has already brought new jobs and apprenticeships to the area and is expanding its sectors including processing, research, logistics, marketing, administration and management, as well as creating young apprenticeships locally.

It is forecast to process almost 200 tonnes of venison in the next year, but concerns lie with the need for more venison farmers to come forward with livestock to increase this supply. The Prentice’s are working with the Venison Advisory to encourage more Scottish Farmers into the high-value business of deer farming to enable the new plant to meet consumer demands. Currently, a third of the venison the UK consumes is imported, shipped in from as far afield as New Zealand.

What the owner has to say…The owners of Stagison venison farm in Scotland at their opening day

Bob Prentice, managing director of the deer farm and processing plant, and co-founder, said there was “enormous opportunities, with a huge gap in the UK market for quality, home-grown venison”.

He said: “Investing in something I am so passionate about was not a difficult choice. It’s all about making a real difference to the quality and welfare of Scottish produced meat and bringing home to the UK our own sustainable venison to reduce imports”.

“Fife is our family home. We farm, we live, we work and grow within the Fife community. We are the only processing plant in Scotland. This makes an enormous difference to the wellbeing of deer, who used to have to be shipped down to South Yorkshire for processing.”

“Fife offers the perfect location: quiet countryside surroundings for the animals, really an outstanding environment, central to the North and South of Scotland with great transport networks, the opportunity for local growth and close by to inspiring cities such as Dundee, Edinburgh and Perth.

“Our research has shown that our venison is low in fat and high in iron and consumers enjoyed the colour, appearance and flavour as well as the succulence of the meat”

What the Scottish Government are sayingDeer grazing in a lush green field at Stagsion venison farm in Scotland

Richard Lochhead, former Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs said, “Scotland’s venison sector has yet to realise its full potential and the Scottish Government is committed to developing that promise and securing a sustainable future for the industry.”

Over the past decade, retail sales of venison across Britain rose by £32 million to £43 million, being recognised as a “healthy eating” option.

Scotland’s deer farms currently only produce around 2% of the total Scottish venison output of around 3500 tonnes per year. The Scottish Government’s target is to produce an additional 1,000 tonnes within the next 3 years.

Find out more today

If you want to find out more about our deer processing facility then get in touch with us at Stagison today. Call us on 01337 830237 or email us here and we will be delighted to help. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Deer in a field

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The family and the beginnings…

Bob and Jane were born in West Lothian and brought up on their family’s farms. Bob spent a few years as a foreman on a local chicken farm before buying a milk round business and also selling eggs and vegetables. Jane trained and qualified as a chartered accountant.

After getting married they eventually bought their own small holding before moving to Fife in 2002 and buying Downfield Farm, a 150 hectare hill farm overlooking the Howe of fife. In 2008 they added more land to the farm and with the birth of their twin daughters Annie and Katie also to their family. The farm was a mixed unit of arable and grazing land, stocking suckler cows and breeding ewes.

Raw diced Venison on a slate with a mint leaf on topThen the big change to Venison Farming…

In 2011 after the birth of their son James they decided they needed a change of farming policy and in early 2012 started to research the possibility of farming deer. They met John Fletcher from the Scottish Venison Partnership in August 2012 with the intention of putting 30 hinds in a field as a trial but after John’s visit wondered where the calves would go. A meeting was then organised with Vikki Banks of Seriously Good Venison, with a view to supplying finished calves. The problem then was where the animals would be killed, with the nearest abattoir in Barnsley, Yorkshire. The decision was taken to convert a shed on the farm at Downfield into a small abattoir for the deer and this was completed in 2015.

The future…

The current developments at Downfield are to renovate the remainder of the building containing the abattoir into a boning/cutting room to allow the venison carcasses to be processed and packaged for transport anywhere, with the addition of 3 new chills for storage of in skin carcasses for the wild season, packaged and frozen meat. With the support of a Scottish Government Food Processing and Marketing Grant and Royal Bank of Scotland business banking these plans are in progress.

If you want to know more about us, what we do and our Venison Farming then please get in touch with us and we will be delighted to help.

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