Land to be made available to new farmers

Fergus Ewing in field
Norette Ferns

Over 1,000 hectares of public land is to be made available to new farmers this spring.

The move is part of the Scottish Government's Programme for Government commitment to identify and release more public and private land for new farmers as part of their action plan for Farming Opportunities for New Entrants.

Forestry Enterprise Scotland, Scottish Water, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, East Lothian and Highland Councils will all release land this spring for around 50 new farmers.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:

"One of the primary barriers to attracting new entrants to farming is the availability of land. That is why I am pleased to announce that public bodies will release over 1,000 hectares of land this spring.

"The release of land is the direct result of the work of the Farming Opportunities for New Entrants group, which I launched in December 2016 with the specific remit of developing farming opportunities for new entrants.

"With the average age of Scottish farmers at 58 years of age, attracting new entrants to farming is vital for the long-term sustainability of the industry. New entrants drive innovation and best practice, improve efficiencies and contribute towards the overall economic vitality of the sector."

Henry Graham, Chair of Farming Opportunities for New Entrants said:

"It has been good working with these different organisations to illustrate the importance of bringing New Entrants in to the sector and for these organisations to react in such a positive manner. This recent area of land to be released is in addition to the 1,400 hectares that have been let to 35 New Entrants on the National Forest Estate since the beginning of the Starter Farm Programme."

Visit the Scottish Government website for more information.