New farmers in Scotland have today been handed a double boost with the news of additional funding and the creation of a starter unit.
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead announced the news during the QMS speech at the Royal Highland Show at Ingliston.
A further £5.9 million is going towards 74 projects across Scotland. It is the last round of Rural Priorities capital project funding from the current Scotland Rural Development Programme.
All of the Rural Priorities capital project funding went to New Entrants.
The projects include the construction of new dairy sheds to improve animal welfare, a glasshouse to allow low carbon production of tomatoes and peppers, improvements to slurry storage to reduce diffuse pollution, and constructing self-catering accommodation.
It means a total of £574.4 million of funding has been approved for projects since 2008.
Mr Lochhead said:
“It’s crucial that we do all we can to introduce new farmers to an industry which is vital to Scotland’s economy. We must ensure that there is fresh blood, talent and ideas to continue the great work which already goes on in the sector.
“Today’s funding announcement shows just how much the Scottish Government values the contribution of our farmers and how much we want to help them grow and branch out to strengthen their businesses.”
A starter unit is also being created at Balrobert Farm near Inverness, which is currently part of the Scottish Government’s Bull Stud at Knocknagael.
One hundred and eight hectares of land is surplus to the current management requirements for the bulls following the construction of the state of the art Bull Stud.
New entrants can apply to take over the land and a consultation process with key stakeholders will select the ideal tenancy proposal.
Mr Lochhead added: “I know new entrants are keen to get involved. The starter unit is a tenancy which will appeal to those people who see their future in agriculture and I’m sure this opportunity will generate plenty of interest.
“Balrobert Farm will provide a foot on the farming ladder for the successful applicant, and the future of the farming industry in Scotland relies on the introduction of enthusiastic and dedicated new entrants.”