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Annual Report Signals Commitment to New Generation

NFU Scotland has used its 2011 Annual Report to signal its ongoing commitment to the nation’s new generation of farmers by offering a genuine route into ensuring policy decisions meet the needs of those who are the future of the industry.

The Union set up a New Generation group this year with a flexible, open membership providing a direct link in to the Union and a vehicle to develop their policy priorities and identify the gaps in support.

A programme of New Generation meetings is already planned for 2012 and the Union will also be on the road next year with a greater number of events and seminars. As well as the usual round of regional meetings and shows, specialist events covering NVZs, greening proposals, and animal health are being prepared.

Investment in a stronger event programme will be supported by a solid set of accounts posted by NFUS for the year ended 31 October 2011. These showed an operating profit of £27,429 on a turnover of £2.47 million. Taking returns from investment and interest into account, the Union’s profit for the year was £88,559.

Writing in the Annual Report, NFU Scotland President Nigel Miller said:

“We are in an industry that has often failed to attract, engage, inform or retain the younger generation. However, the renewed interest and enthusiasm for farming and food that they bring can inject life and energy into the rural economy.

“Our New Generation group will next meet on 31st January - the first of four meetings for 2012 – and, not surprisingly, the main agenda item will be CAP reform and ensuring we have a clear understanding of the priorities, both for new entrants and established businesses. 

“Providing new entrants with an accessible route into farming and giving them a platform to build a career is a priority for NFUS and for the Scottish Government. We plan to join up with the Cabinet Secretary in the first half of 2012 to map out a new deal for the new generation.

“Such is our commitment to our future farmers that those who are clawing their way into farming, but are currently unsupported, will be given assistance to join NFUS with a new subscription rate for 2012.”

Commenting on the Union’s financial performance, Chief Executive Scott Walker said funding was secure and would allow significant investment in developing services and events, while allowing for any contingencies that may arise in 2012.

Mr Walker added:

“In addition to the big picture work that we do for the industry, nothing is more important than the help and assistance we provide an individual member in order to help them solve a problem that they face. Through our network of secretaries, regional staff and head office, we will continue to strengthen what we do for members individually and how we respond to them when they need help.

“As an organisation, we are also here to serve farm-based businesses. Many activities of our members now go beyond the traditional agricultural activities that most people think about when they think of farmers or crofters. The Union has developed services that now stretch into renewables and agri-tourism. We are here to serve the wider interests of our members in the same way in that we have served - and will always serve - their core business.

“Our bank balance is robust and it gives us the confidence that whatever issues 2012 may throw at us, we are well placed to respond. We have legal opinions expected in the New Year on the ongoing difficulties our members are experiencing when attempting to comply with the new rules around electronic tagging of sheep and movement reporting.

“Legal opinions, by their nature, are rarely definitive and legal challenges can be costly exercises.  Given the problems that sheep EID has caused, the reassurance for our members is that if there is a case that can be pursued through the courts then we do have a level of contingency funds in place from our 2011 accounts if we do go down that route.” 

Notes to Editors

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 201/11


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