Farming maintains 6,400 jobs in region
Dumfries and Galloway is the second biggest area for farming jobs in Scotland.
Figures show that one person in every 14 is employed in the industry, beaten only by the Shetland Islands.
There are an estimated 6,400 people working in one of the 1,890 farming businesses in the region.
Rupert Shaw, the regional chairman for NFUS, is hoping that figure will increase while the average age decreases.
He said: “What I hope is that more people outside of farming consider it as a career. I wasn’t born into a farming family I’m what’s called a new generation farmer and I hope we will see an increase in interest from people looking to get a job in farming not just those lucky enough to be born into it.
“It would also be good to see a reduction in the average age of farmers in the region which I believe is 58 right now.
“There’s a risk that farming in undervalued as the world becomes less stable. Farmers produce something of real value to all of us and that’s food and I hope it is appreciated by more people, too.
“There’s an issue with payments made to farmers because people think those payments just go into a farmer’s back pocket or towards a pool.
“Often that money goes straight to organisations like Tarff Valley and Lloyds which are also looking for that reinvestment.
“It’s not just farming jobs because there’s tractor mechanics, vets and other jobs which are linked to agriculture.”
Across Scotland, around 40,000 people are employed in agriculture, or one in every 87 people aged 16 to 64.
The number of farming businesses has also increased slightly across the country, rising from 14,420 in 2010 to 14,595 in 2016.
However, despite this the number of jobs in the industry has actually dropped over the same period, from around 40,700 employees in 2010 to 40,000 last year.