Hill farm­ing’s fu­ture in the spotlight

The Oban Times - - Farming - John Sem­ple

That is the clear mes­sage to be de­liv­ered to farm­ers and crofters from across Scot­land when they at­tend a con­fer­ence in Oban on Wed­nes­day Septem­ber 30 and Thurs­day Oc­to­ber 1.

With re­turns from hill farm­ing un­der pres­sure, the con­fer­ence will be look­ing at the fu­ture of this im­por­tant sec­tor of Scot­tish agri­cul­ture, with farm­ers and crofters joined by pol­icy mak­ers and fun­ders to ex­plore the op­por­tu­ni­ties for sheep and cat­tle pro­duc­ers.

The con­fer­ence will open with a half day of farm vis­its in­clud­ing the Hill and Moun­tain Re­search Cen­tre, Kirk­ton and Auchter­tyre Farms near Cri­an­larich. The sec­ond day will be held at the Scot­tish Marine In­sti­tute, Dun­staffnage, Oban. Speak­ers will in­clude Jon­nie Hall, NFU Scot­land Di­rec­tor of Pol­icy, who will out­line what the changes to Com­mon Agri­cul­tural Pol­icy (CAP) sup­port mean for hill farm­ers.

Speak­ing ahead of the event, John Sem­ple, NFU Scot­land Re­gional


Board chair­man said: ‘NFU Scot­land is pleased to be in­volved in bring­ing this im­por­tant na­tional event to Oban. Hill farm­ing is fac­ing chal­leng­ing times, with many hill farm­ers and crofters con­cerned what the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the new CAP will mean for their busi­nesses in the face of con­tin­u­ing price volatil­ity and ris­ing costs, but there are also op­por­tu­ni­ties.

‘The vis­its and de­bate over the two days will high­light some of the chal­lenges and give ev­ery­one in­volved the op­por­tu­nity to iden­tify a sus­tain­able way for­ward for hill farm­ing, recog­nis­ing all the eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits that ac­tive hill farm­ing can de­liver. In or­der to achieve this, the process needs to be driven by those farm­ers and crofters whose liveli­hoods are de­pen­dent on se­cur­ing a vi­able in­come from Scot­land’s hills.’

To book your place and for fur­ther in­for­ma­tion please con­tact Lucy Sum­sion on 01499 600154 or email lucy. sum­sion@ nfus.org.uk.

The fu­ture of hill farm­ing is in your hands.”

NFU Scot­land Re­gional Board


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