Some 80% of Scotland’s land mass is under agricultural production, making the industry the single biggest determinant of the landscape we see around us. Scotland’s farmers, crofters and growers produce output worth around £2.9 billion a year, and are responsible for much of Scotland’s £5 billion food and drink exports. The export target for 2017 is £7.1 billion.
Around 67,000 people are directly employed in agriculture in Scotland – this represents around 8% of the rural workforce and means that agriculture is the third largest employer in rural Scotland after the service and public sectors. It is estimated that a further 360,000 jobs (1 in 10 of all Scottish jobs) are dependent on agriculture.
The agri-food sector is now the UKs largest manufacturing sector.
Around 85% of Scotland is classified as Less Favoured Area. This is an EU classification which recognises natural and geographic disadvantage.
There are large numbers of farms in north west Scotland, but these are significantly smaller in terms of the numbers of livestock/area of crops grown than farms elsewhere. Sheep farming is the predominant type of farming in the north west and there are also many sheep farms in the south of the country. Larger cereal farms are concentrated in the east. Beef farming takes place throughout Scotland, but is particularly common in the south west. This area also has the bulk of the dairy industry. For more information about what we produce in Scotland, click here.
According to the Scottish Executive’s Environment and Rural Affairs Department, the average net farm income for 2014 is £23,000 - having halved in four years.
Total income from farming in Scotland in 2015 was £667 million.
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