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29/05/19 15:32

Farmers to benefit from more land

New entrants to farming industry get help from Scottish Government scheme.

More public sector land has been released to people who want to become farmers.

Around 6,400 hectares of land has been made available from public bodies such as Forestry and Land Scotland, Crown Estate Scotland, Scottish Water, Highland and Islands Enterprise, East Lothian and Highland Councils.

This latest release of public land will benefit up to 24 farmers and is part of the Programme for Government commitment to identify and make available land for new entrants to the farming industry.

Among the people benefiting is Callum Lindsay, a farmer’s son who has long wanted to establish his own farm but has not been able to because of high land prices.

Mr Lindsay, whose home farm is not big enough to support both him and his parents, has been awarded 40 hectares of public land at West Torrie, near Callander, on a five-year tenancy said:

“Due to the high price of land and the shortage of ground available to rent for livestock, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get yourself established. This 5-year tenancy is a golden opportunity to establish myself in the industry, a start that would not be achievable if I had to buy my own land.”

Welcoming the land award to Mr Lindsay, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:

“The availability of land remains one of the primary barriers to attracting new entrants to farming and I am clear that overcoming these challenges is vital for the future sustainability of the industry.

“That is why I am delighted to announce up to 24 farmers will benefit from the release of public sector land across Scotland – bringing the total number of farmers to 94. The forestry estate alone has already identified more than 2,800 hectares of land for potential lease to aspiring farmers, with many other public organisations doing likewise.

“With the average age of Scottish farmers at 58, attracting new entrants is essential. By further opening up public sector land, I hope that we can provide more opportunities to get onto the first step of the farming ladder.”

Background

As well as helping new entrants into farming, the scheme assists existing farmers to make their businesses more sustainable by renting them additional land.

To ensure other ambitious young people are provided similar opportunities, successful turn-over of tenants is a key principle of the starter farm initiative.  As such, all candidates are made aware of these terms and the need to re-let units after the duration of their tenancy.

Farming Opportunities for New Entrants action plan