NFU Scotland | Scottish Farming Facts | Farming & Food Supply Chain

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Farming Footsteps

To mark our centenary, NFU Scotland wanted to do something special to show the pride we have in what our members are doing every day across Scotland.

In this short film we follow the footsteps of new generation member Iain Mackay of Mull who tells a familiar story; that of a young lad who grows up with one ambition - to be a farmer.

With grateful thanks to Martin Kennedy of Lurgan, Aberfeldy, who allowed us to film on his stunning farm.

 

Farming and the food supply chain

Facts about farmers’ position in the supply chain

Food production in Scotland is inextricably linked with farming. In earlier times farmers and crofters in Scotland farmed for their own subsistence, to produce the food that they needed to survive.

As urbanisation progressed the scale of Scottish farming increased, though the majority of farms continue to be operated as independent family-ran enterprises. Scotland’s international reputation for food and drink is continuing to grow, and within the United Kingdom and overseas Scotch Beef PGI is considered as a premium product. Similarly, Scotch Whisky is renowned around the world and Scotland’s barely production plays an important role in the production of Scotch.

Scotland currently has 9 products currently in production using produce from Scottish farms, that are protected from imitation through the European food name protection scheme.  These are:

  • Traditional Ayrshire Dunlop Cheese
  • Orkney Scottish Island Cheddar
  • Stornoway Black Pudding
  • Shetland Lamb
  • Orkney Beef
  • Orkney Lamb
  • Scotch Lamb
  • Scotch Beef
  • Native Shetland Wool

Owing to the quality and provenance of Scottish beef and lamb it is estimated that more than 70 per cent of the value derived by the red meat industry is generated from sales outside of Scotland.

Scotland’s farmers, and their representative organisations, have consistently campaigned for clearer labelling on food that tells shoppers where their food comes from. This origin labelling is important in getting shoppers to think more about where their food comes from and reinforced the provenance of Scottish produce.

Scottish agriculture supplies a rich larder that ranges from fresh tasty in-season strawberries to quality Scotch Beef, all of which is produced to high standards.

Scotland has led the way in establishing production standards.  Scottish farmers are members of a number of quality farm assurance schemes, including the QMS Cattle & Sheep Assurance Scheme, Scottish Quality Cereals Farm Assurance, Red Tractor Farm Assurance, and more.

Farmers are enthusiastic about working with the food and drink industry, both at a manufacturing and retailing level, to boost the sales and consumption of fresh Scottish produce.

  • Scotland farmers supply a Scottish Food and Drink sector which generates over £15 billion.
  • Livestock farms are home to cattle, sheep, chickens, deer, pigs and more, with livestock farmers supplying the red meat, dairy and poultry industry.
  • Scottish livestock farmers supply a red meat sector which is worth £850 million.
  • Scottish farmers and growers produce crops, fruits, vegetables, ornamentals and raw materials for a wide range of supply chains.
  • Cereal production in Scotland is worth £334 million, and supplies a Scotch Whisky industry worth over £3.8 billion.
  • There are over 950 dairy farms in Scotland producing over 1.7 billion litres of milk, worth £364 million, which are used to produce butter, cheese, milk, yoghurt and more.
  • Potato and vegetable production in Scotland is estimated to be worth over £280 million.
  • Soft fruit production in Scotland is estimated to be worth more than £128 million.
  • Scottish agriculture directly employs over 63,000 people. Since many farms are small and medium sized family enterprises one quarter of regular farming staff are family members.
  • The food and drink manufacturing sector in Scotland employs more than 39,000 people and the sector indirectly supports over 300,000 jobs.
  • The food and drink sector is the largest manufacturing sector in Scotland, generating 18.8 per cent of Scottish manufacturing turnover.
  • Currently the UK is only 60 per cent self-sufficient in food, meaning that if we could only eat Scottish and British food we would run out by August each year.

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