Scotland’s Politicians Spending Summer on the Farm

Scotland’s politicians are taking up an offer from NFU Scotland to spend some of their summer recess down on the farm.

More than 30 Scottish MPs and MSPs have already accepted the Union’s invitation and hope to visit farms up and down the country this summer. As well as enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of Scottish farming, NFU Scotland is looking to build on its healthy relationship with all Scottish politicians and keen to discuss policies that it believes will drive Scotland’s farming, food and energy sectors forward.

One of the first to take up the offer is the new leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Willie Rennie, who visited Firth Farm, Lilliesleaf near Melrose, today (Tuesday, 2 August) in a meeting hosted by NFU Scotland’s Livestock Committee Chairman Rob Livesey and his family.

NFU Scotland’s Parliamentary Affairs Manager Sarah Anderson said:

“There is a growing appreciation across the political spectrum that a healthy farming industry remains firmly at the heart of any thriving rural economy and is responsible for delivering a whole host of economic, social and environmental benefits.

“The willingness to take up this invitation from NFU Scotland to get out and about on Scottish farms confirms that rural affairs, whether related to farming, food, the environment or renewables, are firmly on the radar of all Scottish politicians.  This invite will build on the regular meetings that the Union already holds with politicians on a regional basis, the meetings that take place on the agricultural show circuit and the ad-hoc farm visits that take place throughout the year.

“The Scottish elections in May of this year, and the Westminster elections a year earlier, have brought many fresh faces to the Scottish political scene to complement our established parliamentarians.   Whether old or new to NFUS, it is clear is that there is a genuine interest from all political parties to hear more about the great story that Scottish farmers have to tell and a desire to gain an appreciation as to the challenges that agriculture faces.

“Our Manifesto for the Scottish elections, published a few months ago, went to all parties and parliamentary candidates and clearly outlined our current priorities.  These include improving relationships between the Scottish Parliament, Westminster and Europe to ensure Scotland’s voice is heard in the crucial forthcoming reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

“These on farm visits give us an opportunity to explain to politicians, and any accompanying staff, just what the CAP does for food and farming in Scotland balanced by the need for reducing the administrative burden and cumbersome penalty system that too often accompanies any support scheme. 

“At the same time, there is the chance to show the huge role that Scottish farmers can play in delivering on Scotland’s food and drink strategy and its world-leading renewable energy targets.

“As custodians of four-fifths of Scotland’s land, Scottish farmers are rightly proud of their record and that is something worth sharing and discussing with our politicians. I would urge any politician who would like to visit a farm to get in touch.” 

Noted to Editors

  • A photograph of Willie Rennie MSP with Rob Livesey on the family farm at Lilliesleaf, Melrose in the Scottish Borders is available on request.
  • Sarah Anderson, NFU Scotland’s Press and Parliamentary Affairs Manager can be contacted on: 0131 472 4108 or 07920 018619 or Email:
  • The politicians who have, to date, contacted NFU Scotland and expressed an interest in a farm visit this summer are (in no particular order): Cathy Jamieson MP (Lab), John Mason MSP (SNP), Stuart McMillan MSP (SNP), Helen Eadie MSP (Lab), Neil Findlay MSP (Lab), Graeme Dey MSP (SNP), John Swinney MSP (SNP), Sandra Osborne MP (Lab), Colin Beattie MSP (SNP), Fiona Hyslop MSP (SNP), Drew Smith MSP (Lab), Hanzala Malik MSP (Lab), Richard Simpson MSP (Lab), Gordon Banks MP (Lab), Mark McDonald MSP (SNP), Anne McGuire MP (Lab), Jamie Hepburn MSP (SNP), Mary Scanlon MSP (Con), Aileen Campbell MSP (SNP), Jim Eadie MSP (SNP), Neil Bibby MSP (Lab), Jim Hood MP (Lab), Willie Rennie MSP (LibDem), Gordon MacDonald MSP (SNP), Colin Keir MSP (SNP), Jackie Baillie MSP (Lab), Pete Wishart MP (SNP), Richard Baker MSP (Lab), Tom Harris MP (Lab), Christine Grahame MSP (SNP), Richard Lochhead MSP (SNP), Iain Gray MSP (Lab), Mary Fee MSP (Lab), Siobhan McMahon MSP (Lab), Alex Fergusson (Con).
  • All NFU Scotland regions hold regular meetings with MPs and MSPs throughout the year to discuss agricultural issues and politicians are regular attendees at the many agricultural shows held throughout the summer.


Contact Sarah Anderson on 0131 472 4108

Date Published:

News Article No.: 138/11

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