A SMALLHOLDER and farming vet has devoted his time to running a regular workshop, where he uses his veterinary knowledge to teach other smallholders about animal care and husbandry.

Twenty-six-year-old Cam Collins, from Stocksfield, said he was motivated to start a veterinary care workshop when he began meeting smallholders through his job as a farm vet at Scott Mitchell and Associates veterinary surgeons.

“I was meeting smallholders on a regular basis who felt they had little or no support, in comparison to commercial farmers, from the government or large farming organisations.

“Being a smallholder myself, and keeping around a dozen sheep, I had some experience in what it took to keep livestock, and knew first-hand how important animal welfare and husbandry knowledge when out on the smallholding.”

Cam went on to start up the Scott Mitchell Smallholder Cooperative, a group for local smallholders eager to receive guidance on veterinary care and welfare through evening workshops and training courses.

“If smallholders are overlooked, so are there livestock, so it’s important that they are briefed on how to meet the same high standards commercial farmers have to meet,” said Cam.

In the evening workshops, Cam covers a range of topics for his group including information on lambing, instructions on worming and vaccinations, and most recently, advice on combatting and preventing lameness and disease in livestock.

He also creates tailored health plans for members, focusing on what their smallholding needs, offers flock reviews out on member’s farms, as well as farm visits for vaccinations.

“Members have learnt a lot from each other, alongside being taught by myself,” Cam said.

“It’s a place where they are share their concerns and experiences with each other, and sometimes just have a chat.

“More than anything, I’ve found the meetings a great way of bringing us local smallholders together.”

As well as the regular meetings and advice, the price of a quarterly subscription will cover a range of medication, provided in smaller doses at a lower price.

“I understand how costly running a smallholding can be, so I came up with a way which I could give members medication at a fraction of the price, whilst avoiding any of the wastage you would get buying industrial size bottles for commercial farmers.”

For more information on joining Scott Mitchell Smallholder Cooperative, contact the vet clinic on farm@vets1.com