Rachael Hamilton MSP recently attended a pre-COP26 farming event to highlight the role that farming can play in fighting climate change.
Mrs Hamilton attended the fact-finding farm visit to see environmental innovation taking place at Kate and Ed Rowell's farm at Hundleshope near Peebles. Kate Rowell is Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) Chair.
The visit demonstrated specific elements of production that deliver positive action for the climate and biodiversity that farmers are taking in the Borders.
In the run up to COP26, these events, run jointly by NFU Scotland, Quality Meat Scotland and SAC Consulting, are being held in regions across Scotland to provide the chance to meet local farmers.
Rachael was joined by Councillor Mark Rowley, Councillor Sandy Scott and fellow MSP Sharon Dowey. Representatives from agricultural organisations included Alan Clark, CEO of QMS, Sarah Millar, Director of Market Intelligence & External Affairs at QMS, Robin Traquair, Vice Preisdent of NFU Scotland and Lindsay Brown, Regional NFU Scotland Manager.
During the visit and Rachael Hamilton MSP had the chance to hear how, as a sector, agriculture will help the country achieve net zero.
Farmers and representatives raised issues around government support for climate schemes. Experimental work done on specific grass mixes and investment in green energy technology could all help the sector reduce emissions. Industry leaders want more to be done to push innovation to help farmers play their part.
Rachael Hamilton said:
“Visiting Hundleshope Farm gave me a great insight into the work being carried out across the Scottish Borders to reduce carbon emission output from agriculture.
“Farmers already work hard to manage the countryside and implement environmental schemes, but now we need to see the SNP Government properly support the next steps in reducing emissions.
“In the run up to COP26, I want farmers to be given the opportunity to be part of the solution to climate change, not criticised for their work in producing excellent food.
“I have taken the concerns raised at the visit on-board, and I will put these to the Cabinet Secretary in Holyrood at the earliest opportunity.
“We must see farmers fully supported in order to make these changes, as currently the SNP Government is not offering that opportunity”.