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An Interview with Scammadale Farm

An Interview with Scammadale Farm

Written by Hollie-Beth McGregor Updated Sep 2022 –

“From the Scottish farmer, to the Scottish manufacturer, and out to you…”

Based in a rural town on the west coast of Scotland, here at Midton, we’re passionate about supporting our local community. 

Recently, after connecting with local farmers, we were disappointed to hear the shockingly low prices offered to farmers for their livestock’s wool. We put our heads together, knowing there must be a more viable solution.  

Here at Midton, we love to think outside the box, reusing natural materials through our artistic process. We knew that we could offer farmers a fair price for each fleece, and use this wool in an innovative and exciting way. Using our local connections, we made contact with Scammadale, a local farm, who had fallen victim to the steep drop in wool prices. Talking to Neil, Philip and Shona, we wanted to find out more about the farm’s history. 

An introduction to Scammadale 

Speaking of the history of the farm, Neil explained that the whole glen had originally belonged to the Duke of Argyll, before selling in 1958 to the family. Moving from the Mull of Kintyre in 1948, Neil’s father borrowed the twenty thousand pounds required to buy the twelve hundred acres and 500 ewes, 30 cows, and 500 sheep that came with the farm. 

Neil was born in 1950, staying in a little house down the glen, before moving to Scammadale with the family in 1958. He has been on the farm ever since, for 63 years. As the family grew, more joined the team, with his daughter Shona, and her husband Philip, taking the reins. 

In the past 5 or 6 years, Scammadale farm’s livestock has doubled.

The decline in wool profit 

Neil explained that historically, the biggest cheque that came into the farm was the wool. The 500 sheep up to the end of the 1980s brought in £1,400. Even alongside the sale of 30 calves, the wool still brought in more profit. Today, these calves would bring in £25,000, whereas the return of wool has plummeted down to £120. The last two or three years have gone into freefall. Products are no longer being utilised to their best, with the rise of synthetic fabrics causing farms to suffer. 

Now, the price of each fleece is a mere 40 pence a fleece. But Neil explained that it won’t even be 40 pence this year, in fact, it will be less than that. Some farmers are even hiring people to come out and shear for £1.50 a sheep, making a loss of 90p per sheep. They are massively out of pocket.

A new custom material 

Here at Midton, we have a unique business where we can take an organic component, encapsulate it within acrylic. At the other end, we get a beautiful product. After we heard the farm’s story, we started to experiment with the wool. We were determined to make something that both works, and gains the interest of the design industry.

We take the fleece, in its unwashed, organic state (ensuring our carbon footprint is as low as possible), bring it into Midton, and embed this within our acrylic. So far we’ve had a fantastic initial reception from interior designers, furniture makers, and designers alike. 

We see this product as a desirable, bespoke material, It’s not just off the shelf. We will custom manufacture for you, keeping you in the loop along the way. From the Scottish farmer, to the Scottish manufacturer, and out to you. From here, the material can be used in the likes of paneling and worktops. 

We’re passionate about the whole story of this wool, from its origin, to the material itself, and its end use. There are so many variations possible - every panel is different, giving a unique feel.

Additionally, we want this material to be accessible and affordable. Although a high end, custom material, our prices will not reflect this. The more of this material we are able to sell, the more we can give back. Therefore, cost will be inline with our current pricing to support our local farm.

Keeping this project as local as possible, we always want to support the farms closest to us. Therefore, we will be working with Scammdale throughout the whole process to ensure they receive a fair cost for their fleeces. At Scammadale, their sheep are raised on the hills, only receiving necessary medical treatment. They are a sustainable, and environmentally friendly farm, which is crucial to our team. 

Following our trip to Scammadale farm, our team at the factory have put the work into this project to create a stunning material that is now available for you to purchase. Get in contact with our team today to find out more information.

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