Farming at the forefront in Holyrood

Local MSP Rachael Hamilton met with representatives of the Rural Leadership Programme in the Scottish Parliament to discuss their work.

Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) have joined forces to fund the Rural Leadership Programme, which is aimed at business managers and employees from rural businesses who have a desire to develop their skills and grow their business.

The programme is delivered by SAC Consulting and the programme puts rural leaders in contact with a network of over 500 graduates, including farmers, vets, estate managers, tourism managers, and managers from processing and supply businesses.

The Group consists of 59 Scottish rural leaders who were on a two-day visit to Edinburgh with their programme.

Of the 59 rural leaders, there were three Borderers, James Logan from Pirntaton Farm, Fountainhall, Jamie Tweedie of Middlethird Farm near Gordon, and Alice McKerrow of Addinston.

The event was hosted in a week when TIFF (Total Income from Farming) figures showed that net income for Scottish farming has fallen. In 2018 was estimated at £672 million, down 8 per cent from £729 million in 2017.

Ms Hamilton has criticised the SNP Government for a lack of action when it comes to tackling agricultural productivity, cuts to Pillar 2 schemes and the slow progress on encouraging more young people into farming.

 

Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP, Rachael Hamilton said:

“It was wonderful to attend the Rural Leadership Programme in Holyrood, and to hear of the fantastic work that is being done to drive rural entrepreneurialism and business.

“The latest figures show farm income is down across Scotland on last year, a worrying trend that has persisted over many years now. It is time the SNP Government put forward positive steps to reverse this trend, by increasing productivity and food production.

“The programme participants have an enthusiasm to see our rural economy flourish and change this, and I am glad that there is such a wealth of experience and knowledge in order to see positive change in farming and the countryside.