TWO farms in the Borders received a visit from the shadow rural affairs secretary to mark #Farm24 day.
MSP Rachael Hamilton MSP visited the farms of Sion Williams of Bowhill Farming Ltd at Carterheugh Farm, and Peter Douglas at Ruletownhead near Hawick as part of the day which celebrates British farming.
Run by the Farmer’s Guardian and sponsored by Morrisons, 24 Hours in Farming, is agriculture’s biggest online event showcasing what farmers do up and down the country in a typical working day.
It offers a valuable insight into where and how food is produced and the huge variety of roles and responsibilities taken on by farmers as food producers and custodians of the countryside.
Mrs Hamilton visited both farms as part of the day to learn more about the businesses, including about ‘anaerobic digesters, renewables and organic farming’.
“Right across the rural Borders, there is a greater need, now more than ever, to support the next generation of farmers and new entrants,” she said.
“We know that back in 2018, the SNP government halted further funding for new entrants.
“We need to see new talent coming into farming, as well as expanded opportunities for acquiring new skills through courses.”
The Borders MSP then met Peter Douglas, who is the organic National Farmer’s Union of Scotland environmental chairman, along with others to discuss organic farming and future environmental schemes.
Following the visit, she urged the Scottish government to provide more support to new entrants and offer new opportunities for farmers to develop their skills.
She also pledged to write to the DVLA to speed up the process of acquiring a tractor licence following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lothian and Borders chairwoman, Debbie Playfair said the visits to Sion’s and Peter’s farms had been invaluable.
“NFU Scotland was proud to support the sixth #Farm24, and we were delighted to see that the shadow rural affairs secretary chose to celebrate this annual online event by visiting two of our well-known members,” she said.
“Sion is Lothian and Borders regional vice chairman and Peter chairs our Environment and Land Use committee, and both offered a valuable insight into sustainable farming, renewable energy and quality food production in the Borders and the contribution that farming makes to the local economy, the community, and the environment.
“Sion and Peter both have a fantastic story to tell on the contribution that their farms make to society and both are excellent at sharing that story with politicians, stakeholders, fellow farmers and consumers.”