Policy to bridge generation gap
Published at 21:40, Wednesday, 04 January 2012
NFU Scotland has signalled its ongoing commitment to the new generation of farmers by offering a genuine route into ensuring policy decisions meet the needs of those who are the future of the industry.
It set up a New Generation group this year with a flexible, open membership providing a direct link to the union and a vehicle to develop their policy priorities and identify the gaps in support.
A programme of New Generation meetings is planned for 2012 and the union will also be on the road this year with a greater number of events and seminars. As well as the usual round of regional meetings and shows, specialist events covering topics such as greening proposals and animal health are being prepared.
Investment in a stronger event programme is supported by a solid set of accounts posted by NFUS for the year ended October 31, 2011. These showed an operating profit of £27,429 on a turnover of £2.47 million. Taking returns from investment and interest into account, the profit for the year was £88,559.
In the annual report, NFUS president Nigel Miller wrote: “We are in an industry which has often failed to attract, engage, inform or retain the younger generation. However, the renewed interest and enthusiasm for farming and food that they bring can inject life and energy into the rural economy.
“Our New Generation group will next meet on January 31, the first of four meetings in 2012, and, unsurprisingly, the main agenda item will be CAP reform and ensuring we have a clear understanding of the priorities, both for new entrants and established businesses.
“Giving new entrants an accessible route into farming and a platform on which to build a career is a priority for us and for the Scottish government.
“Such is our commitment to our future farmers that those who are clawing their way into farming but are currently unsupported will be given help to join NFUS with a new subscription rate for 2012.”
On the union’s financial performance, chief executive Scott Walker said funding was secure and would allow significant investment in developing services and events, while allowing for any contingencies arising in 2012.
He said: “Our bank balance is robust and we are confident that whatever issues 2012 may throw at us, we are well placed to respond.
“We have legal opinions expected in the New Year on the ongoing difficulties members are experiencing when trying to comply with the new rules on electronic tagging of sheep and movement reporting.
“Legal opinions are rarely definitive and legal challenges can be costly.
“Given the problems that sheep EID has caused, our members can be reassured that if there is a case which can be pursued through the courts, we have a level of contingency funds in place if we go down that route.”
Published by http://www.eladvertiser.co.uk