Farm­ing main­tains 6,400 jobs in re­gion

The Galloway News - - FARMING -

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.

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