MSP supports new entrants to farming

Gillian Martin MSP fed Buddy the lamb on her visit
Gillian Martin MSP fed Buddy the lamb on her visit

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin has highlighted issues faced by new entrants to farming, following a visit to Meikle Tillyeve farm near Udny.

The visit, during which she met with farmers Gary Bruce and Michelle Stephen, represented an opportunity to gain first-hand insight into the experiences of new entrants to the profession.

From opportunities in the new Scottish National Investment Bank to incentivising activity, environmental protection, local economic benefit and healthy livestock over acreage, the conversation was productive and provided food for thought.

Michelle said: “It was great to have Gillian come out and speak to us. We were able to convey concerns in terms of the price of land and access to land, as well as the barriers that can be present when coming up against more established farmers.

“We were particularly interested to hear about potential opportunities available through the new Scottish National Investment Bank, which sounds like it will be a great help.

“Gillian also highlighted Scottish government consultations on issues related to farming, so it’s good to know there are ways to have our voices heard.”

Ms Martin said: “It’s clear that entering into farming is prohibitively expensive for most young people, and existing schemes to help them have conditions attached that mean that those getting experience by raising their own herd on rented land on a short term could be ineligible for support when an opportunity arises to make a go of farming full time, either through getting a tenancy or their own land.

“These young farmers gave me an insight to the challenges they face and I’ll be drawing them to the attention of the government as we look at how we can facilitate a new generation of farmers.”