25.01.2023 - 08:25 / dailyrecord.co.uk
A pioneering eco-conscious farmer who works the same land Rabbie Burns once did has saved his business by going green.
Dad-of-four Bryce Cunningham told how his family nearly lost it all eight years ago. But now the 36-year-old, who runs Mossgiel Farm near Mauchline in Ayrshire, has been hailed for his groundbreaking environmental efforts.
They include becoming the first dairy farm in Britain to eliminate single-use plastics as well as switching to electric delivery vans and heating his estate with biomass. He revealed he’d had no intention of running the dairy farm back in 2013.
He was working at car giant Mercedes-Benz when triple tragedies struck the family. His dad and grandfather – who Bryce called Papa – were both diagnosed with terminal illnesses in quick succession, leading him to move back to Mossgiel.
The pair sadly passed away around a year apart. That was followed by the milk price crash of late 2014 which brought the business, in the family for three generations, to the brink of collapse.
Bryce said: “We ended up almost bankrupt within a month of my dad’s death. We lost just over £100,000 of income.
"At that time, I had just moved into the farmhouse, and with no milk buyer for our milk, we had to sell all the cows, sell the machinery and were basically left with 28 Ayrshire cows – the same as what Papa had in 1948, weirdly [when he took over Mossgiel].”
Robert Burns famously farmed Mossgiel with his brother from 1784-86. But it was a connection Bryce nearly lost entirely.
He told the Record: “It’s Christmas 2015, and I’m standing at Killearn Market with 100 cows for sale. We were totally broke… I was standing there basically selling off my family’s legacy.”
It was after that he began to seriously think about