NFUS meets with minister on farm to focus on land reform

NFU Scotland met on farm with politicians today (Friday 7 August) in Dumfries and Galloway, as the Union finalises its response to the Land Reform Bill.

In recent weeks, the Union has held meetings in each of its 10 regions to consult with its members on the proposals in the Scottish Government’s Land Reform Bill, with further meetings in the pipeline throughout August.

NFU Scotland was joined at Ingleston Farm, courtesy of Jock Rome, by Aileen McLeod, Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform and Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray, with land reform top of the agenda for the day.

This meeting compliments the ongoing relationship with parliamentarians in the region to inform them of the pressing issues within Dumfries and Galloway.

NFU Scotland Vice President Andrew McCornick commented: “This key meeting forms part of the wide-ranging consultation we’ve held with members since the Land Reform Bill was published in June. As part of this intensive engagement programme NFUS has met with members in each of our 10 regions, to fully inform the response we will submit to the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee next Friday (14 August). We are also meeting with MSPs in each region in order to outline our key concerns and considerations to the Bill.

“With the Bill proposing wide changes to the pattern of land ownership and agricultural tenancy law in Scotland, NFUS is delighted to have met the Minister taking the legislation through Parliament at this early stage following the Bill’s publication. We hope to continue dialogue to ensure the Bill is successful in striking a fair balance between various different land uses. More…/

“This work forms part of a much larger programme of political engagement organised within Dumfries and Galloway to highlight the current issues affecting farmers and rural businesses in our area. During these very difficult times for our sector, we need more than ever to be speaking with our local politicians to discuss the problems and barriers being faced on the ground by our members. We need to be identifying potential solutions which could help our members, and to work alongside our parliamentarians to ensure that our message is heard at not only a local but national level.”

Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Aileen McLeod said:

“I was delighted to meet with representatives of NFU Scotland to discuss the Scottish Government’s ambitious programme of land reform. Scotland’s farmers fulfil a central role in the sustainable and responsible management of rural Scotland and are a valued partner in our plans for land reform.

“The Bill aims to deliver greater community benefits through an accountable and transparent system of land rights that promotes fairness and social justice, environmental sustainability and economic prosperity. That is good news for our rural communities and I look forward to working with the NFU Scotland as the Bill progresses.”

Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray said: “Given the importance of agriculture to the local economy here in Dumfries and Galloway, the debate on land reform needs to be open and wide-reaching. That doesn’t mean that it should just involve politicians arguing in a chamber. Rural communities should play a key role in the debate, including land owners and land managers, and their concerns listened to and addressed.”

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