Event report: Women in Agriculture

People networking at women in agriculture event
Lorraine Macrae, Scottish Rural Network Support Unit

Over 200 people gathered in at Gogarburn in Edinburgh on 14 November at an event designed to recognise the collective contribution of women to agriculture and rural or land-based industries.

The event brought together a range of organisations including Royal Highland Agricultural Society of Scotland, SAOS, Scottish Woodlands, Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs and NFUS amongst others and was hosted by the Royal Bank of Scotland who also partner in the initiative.

The event was designed to inspire women to both choose and further develop careers in the land-based sector through sharing experiences, signposting to relevant advice, training and development opportunities - as well as offering the chance to network and access peer-group support.

The audience heard from a panel of guests, chaired by Sally Shortfall, Chair of Rural Economy at Newcastle University who, with the James Hutton Institute, is currently conducting Scottish Government-funded research into women in agriculture.

The panel also included two stars of the much-loved BBC show ‘This Farming Life’, Melissa Irvine and Sybil MacPherson, along with Priscilla Gordon-Duff from Drummuir Estate and Maddy Norval a young crofter from Sutherland.

Discussions ranged from the general challenges of living and working in rural communities (including access to land, affordable housing and reliable broadband) to the importance of ‘Plain English’ in government communications (particularly given the recent high-profile dyslexia campaign run by NFUS).

The panel also fielded questions on the impact of the land reform agenda, farm succession, traceability and product labelling, and the important contribution of women to the rural economy through off-farm work.

For further information about the Women in Agriculture research project please visit the James Hutton website. Although the research survey is now closed, for more details about the project, or if you would like to participate in the interviews or focus groups, please contact the Hutton project leader Dr Lee-Ann Sutherland on 01224 395 285 or email Lee-Ann.Sutherland@hutton.ac.uk.

You can watch our interview with RHASS Director and vet Anne Logan, the first women member of the RHASS executive committee below.

Interview with Anne Logan from ScottishRuralNetwork on Vimeo.