New farming ventures scheme ends

Borders MSP Rachael Hamilton talks to local farmers at last month's Border Union Show.
Borders MSP Rachael Hamilton talks to local farmers at last month's Border Union Show.

A Scottish Government capital grant scheme for new agricultural businesses is closing on August 31.

The scheme provides grants for people new to farming to make improvements to their agricultural business and helps promote sustainable development.

NFU Scotland has expressed their disappointment and urged the Scottish Government to “reconsider this decision and reallocate funding within the SRDP to the much-valued, but under-funded schemes that support the next generation”.

Borders Conservative MSP Rachael Hamilton described the decision as a backward step in encouraging the next generation of new talent into farming.

Ms Hamilton said: “This is a bitter blow to all of those who want to start out in farming. Many new entrants across the Borders will be let down as a result of this change”

“At a time when the average age of a farmer in Scotland stands at 59, we need to be doing all we can to encourage more young people into agriculture.

“The SNP Government is simply pulling up the drawbridge, and preventing a wealth of talent into an industry which desperately needs new blood. I am demanding that the SNP Government rethinks this decision and ensures that the funding reinstated.”