Encouraging Women to Get More Involved in The Union

NFU Scotland takes part in Women in Agriculture panel at RHS

In recent months NFU Scotland has been increasing its work to encourage more women to get involved in union activity and agriculture on a wider scale.

As well as attending recent ‘Women in Agriculture’ events in Scotland, NFU Scotland has also participated in the working group of stakeholders behind these ground-breaking meetings.

At the Royal Highland Show on Friday 24 June, Policy Manager Gemma Thomson, spoke of her background and why she wants to get more women involved in the running of farming businesses, taking up prominent roles in agricultural organisations and also being more vocal and engaged at a union level and inputting into its work.
A breakfast panel debate, organised by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) welcomed a number of inspirational female speakers who discussed their lives and careers in the rural sector. Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing MSP also spoke at the event.

Speaking following the event, Gemma said: “NFU Scotland is delighted to be taking part in this breakfast event, and as a key organisation within the agricultural industry in Scotland, we have a desire to encourage more women to take an active role in the Union.

“As a Union, we already employ a significant number of women in key roles, but there is always space on our committees and working groups, and at grassroots level, for women to have a greater say. NFUS will be looking at how it can actively encourage more woman to take up the higher profile roles in the Union.

“Women in Agriculture events, organised by representatives from NFU Scotland, Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, Royal Bank of Scotland, Scottish Agricultural Organisation Scotland, Scottish Association of Young Farmer Clubs, and the forestry sector have been a great success with others planned for later on this year.

“These events have focussed on subjects such as diversification, women on public boards, and women in business. They have proved to be an excellent networking opportunity for the attendees, as well as an excellent source of information.  There is a clear desire from woman within the agricultural industry to have a stronger voice.”

Notes to Editors

  • For a photograph from the event of the panel with Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing, please email
  • A biography of Gemma Thomson is as follows:
    Following graduation from Harper Adams, Gemma began her career in the rural sector as an Assistant Factor on sporting estates in Perthshire, Fife, and Angus. She then moved sideways to work in agriculture and spent a number of years working in various farm business consultancy, with an emphasis on farm diversification.
    Gemma joined NFUS in 2012 as Legal and Technical Policy Manager, taking on responsibility for development and promotion of policy in a number of key NFUS member issues.  Her current role includes leading Union policy in a range of subjects including land reform, agricultural holdings law, rural communities, renewable energy, utilities, connectivity, rural crime, and the devolution of Crown Estate. 
    As well as developing NFUS policy in these areas she is responsible for the NFUS Legal and Technical Committee, Tenant’s Working Group, and Crown Estate Tenant’s Working Group. In addition to this she and spends a substantial amount of her time on liaising with other stakeholder organisations and Scottish Government and lobbying on behalf of NFUS members at both Holyrood and Westminster.


Contact Ruth McClean on 0131 472 4108

Date Published:

News Article No.: 149/16

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