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Scotland’s Producers Taking ‘Steps To Change’ NFUS Tells SNP Conference Fringe

Scotland’s farmers and crofters are taking ‘steps to change’ as they prepare for a post-Brexit future and life beyond the CAP.

Speaking at an SNP Conference fringe event on the rural economy in Glasgow last night (9 October), NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said the industry had an excellent track record in adopting new techniques and innovation to drive efficiency.  Agri-technology can assist the industry to a point, but well-informed farmers supported by skilled and trained staff will still be an essential element of profitable and productive farming for the foreseeable future.

In its ‘Steps for Change – A new Agricultural Policy for Scotland’ document, launched in late March, NFU Scotland said productivity measures are required to increase the viability and competitiveness of all sectors.  These include investment in innovative agricultural practices and technology; increased knowledge exchange and improved technical and managerial skills.

Other panel members at the fringe event, organised by Holyrood Magazine, were Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy Fergus Ewing and Craig Michie of the Institute of Engineering and Technology.

NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said: “There is a huge role for agri-tech supporting our farming sector as we strive to become more efficient and more competitive and Scotland has a good track record in adopting technology and innovation.

“While these tools can help make our rural economy more successful, keeping people in our industry is absolutely vital.

“Agri-tech provides tools and techniques that can support farmers but, in many areas, robots or machinery can’t replace people on the ground, and for particular tasks like fruit picking, we will still need people to do these jobs.

“Innovation and technology can be the gateway to change, but that requires the buy in and the investment from farmers.  They need to be reassured that cost and investment in technology will generate a return.

“This autumn, NFU Scotland will continue to embrace the theme of change.  Our Autumn conference, being held in Birnam on 26 October will include sessions on taking the steps to change and horizon-scanning.  And in November, the Union will hold a series of 13 regional roadshow events throughout Scotland to develop members’ views on our discussion document ‘Steps to Change – A New Agricultural Policy for Scotland’.

Notes to Editors

  • NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick and Political Affairs Manager Clare Slipper attended the SNP conference in Glasgow on Monday 8 October.  It held meetings with MPs, MSPs and advisors on a range of issues including Brexit, the UK Government’s Agriculture Bill and the Scottish Government’s consultation on climate change.
  • NFU Scotland’s Annual Autumn Conference will be held at Birnam Arts Centre, Dunkeld on Friday, 26 October.  The event will start at 10am, with registration from 9.30am, and will conclude at 3pm.  Sessions include: Presidential address; Taking the steps to change; Your health is your wealth and What’s on the horizon for Scottish agriculture?  If media would like to attend, please email: media@nfus.org.uk for more details.
  • NFU Scotland’s ‘Steps to Change – A New Agricultural Policy for Scotland’ is available at: https://www.nfus.org.uk/userfiles/images/Policy/Brexit/STEPS%20FOR%20CHANGE%20March%202018%20-%20for%20email.pdf

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 138/18


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