Around 150 people gathered at Perth Racecourse this week for a New Entrants to Farming Gathering.

This free event was aimed at Scotland's farmers of the future and was organised by SRUC as part of the Scottish Government's New Entrants to Farming programme.

A short film produced by the Scottish Rural Network Support Unit highlights some of the cultural and social benefits of the International Farm Youth Exchange Programme.

Each year, young farmers and students from across rural communities apply to take part in a cultural exchange programme and stay with host families in another country.

The International Youth Farm Exchange (IFYE) Conference 2015 took place last year, with previous participants of the IYFE programme from across the world gathering at Gordonstoun, Scotland for a week of activities. 

Farmers affected by recent floods can now apply for a grant to help repair man-made floodbanks.

The Agricultural Floodbank Repair Grant Scheme was announced by the First Minister earlier this year, with £1 million being set aside to fund the repair of man-made floodbanks on farms in nine local authorities: Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish Borders, Perth and Kinross, Stirling, South Lanarkshire, Aberdeenshire, City of Aberdeen, Angus and East Ayrshire.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

The annual Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS) Member’s Day and Conference was held at Crieff Hydro in Perthshire on 28 January.

Around 100 delegates were treated to a stimulating mix of guest speaker presentations, interactive debate, practical advice and networking opportunities.

“Opportunities for Growth” - New Entrants to Farming Conference

This free event has been organised as part of the Scottish Governments New Entrants to farming programme.

This free event is aimed at Scotland’s farmers of the future and has been organised as part of the Scottish Government’s New Entrants to Farming Programme.

Industry experts and inspirational speakers will challenge and stimulate the audience to overcome barriers, embrace change and create successful farming businesses.

A new Action Plan for organic food and farming in Scotland from 2016 to 2020 has been launched.

"Organic Ambitions: Scotland’s Organic Action Plan 2016 – 2020" aims to help organic food and farming build a more sustainable future, regenerate the rural economy and conserve biodiversity and natural resources.

The Action Plan identifies the key challenges facing the development of Scottish organic food and the actions required to address them.

More volunteers are needed to deliver the next LEADER and Fisheries programmes in Moray.

Over 100 people from across rural Perthshire braved the snow and ice to attend the launch of the Rural Perth & Kinross LEADER programme on 14 January. 

After a spot of networking at the various stands the meeting commenced with the Local Action Group Chair, with Jackie Brierton speaking passionately about the opportunities that the Local Development Strategy offers in terms of stronger networking, collaboration, a well connected sustainable local economy with communities coming together.

A public consultation on a strategy to protect pollinating insects in Scotland is currently being run by Scottish Natural Heritage.

Scotland’s pollinators include the honey bee, bumble bees, solitary bees, wasps, hoverflies, other flies, beetles, butterflies and moths. There are concerns that environmental pressures are leading to declines in the number, diversity and geographic range of pollinators.

Scottish Smallholding and Grower Festival 2016

Now in it's fifth year, the Festival has something for everyone interested in smallholding in Scotland. With shows of sheep, goats, pigs and poultry and waterfowl and cattle breed societies, and with a focus on rare and traditional breeds, it's a great place to meet breeders and make connections. There's also trade stands and craft exhibitors; a Garden, Craft and Food competition; rural skills demonstrations and a programme of fifteen talks to inform, inspire and educate.