New opportunities for first time farmers

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Rural Affairs Secretary, Richard Lochhead, today (12 September) announced three new Forestry Commission Scotland ‘starter farm’ opportunities.

New entrants to farming can now apply for a ten-year Long Duration Tenancy (LTD) at Falgunzeon by Dalbeattie, Dumfriesshire, Upper Tullochbeg near Huntly, Aberdeenshire, or Carserigg by Kirkconnel, Dumfriesshire. 

These small farms build on an initiative piloted earlier this year by Forestry Commission Scotland to complement its woodland creation operations and its broader commitment to increasing the integration of land use on the national forest estate.  The ‘starter farm’ programme is design to enable new entrants get a foot hold into the industry.

Mr Lochhead made the announcement during the inaugural ‘New Entrants Summit’ attended by a variety of industry representatives, held in Edinburgh.  He said;

“The successful future of Scotland’s farming depends on being able to attract new entrants into the industry, giving our farmers of the future the opportunity to get a foot on the farming ladder.

“Therefore, I am delighted to be able to unveil the locations of Forestry Commission Scotland’s latest opportunities in their ‘starter farm’ programme.  These opportunities build on the success of its pilot initiative which resulted in two young farmers taking up tenancies in Fife.”

“I saw for myself the enthusiasm and professionalism of these first two new farmers on the programme.  It is clear that the demand is there from the next farming generation and I am sure that these opportunities in Aberdeenshire and Dumfriesshire will spark a lot of interest.

“In addition I am pleased to announce that Forestry Commission Scotland expects to be in the position to unveil three more farms in Spring 2013.

“I am encouraged by the way the Commission has worked closely with the industry to develop this initiative and to bring forward these opportunities for new entrants.  It provides a template for others to follow and I hope that many more opportunities for potential farmers will open up on public land in the years to come.”

Falgunzeon at Dalbeattie, Dumfriesshire, and Upper Tullochbeg near Huntly, Aberdeenshire, are both fully equipped livestock farms where the Commission has taken care to retain the best of the land within agriculture resulting in two part time farming units of just under 50 hectares each.  Work is currently ongoing to upgrade the farmhouses and buildings to a let-able standard.

The farm at Carserigg, by Kirkconnel, Dumfriesshire, will pilot a slightly different opportunity.  At this site no farmhouse is available but the farm consists of 170 hectares of mixed in-bye land and hill grazing along with farm shed and handling pens. 
Details on how to apply and application forms can be found on Forestry Commission Scotland’s website.

Closing date for applications is Tuesday 30 October 2012 after which applications will be processed by a selection panel made up of Forestry Commission and industry representatives.

Notes to editors:
1) The New Entrants Summit takes place at the Carlton Hotel today in Edinburgh and will bring together stakeholders from across the agricultural sectors to discuss how more opportunities can be opened up for the next generation of Scottish farmers.

The Summit will be chaired by the Scottish Government and in addition to the Cabinet Secretary, speakers will include Nigel Miller of National Farmers Union Scotland and Douglas Bell of the Scottish Agricultural College.

The summit will also include the first meeting of the newly formed New Entrants Advisory Panel.

2) Forestry Commission Scotland serves as part of the Scottish Government’s Environment & Forestry Directorate.

3) Tha FCS ag obair mar bhuidheann-stiùiridh coilltearachd Riaghaltas na h-Alba agus a' riaghladh nan 660,000 heactairean ann an Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta, a' dìonadh, a' cumail smachd air agus a' leudachadh nan coilltean gus buannachdan a thoirt dha coimhearsnachdan, an eaconamaidh agus, ag obair an aghaidh atharrachadh gnàth-shìde.

Media enquiries to:
Diana McGowan, Forestry Commission Scotland, 0131 314 6162
Tom Whittles, Scottish Government, 0131 244 2614