The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) has appointed a new land management advisor to develop and co-ordinate a new programme of advice and support for farmers and land managers across the area.
Bruce McConachie, who currently lives in Huntly, has helped run the family farm on the outskirts of Grantown-on-Spey since he was boy. He says he’s looking forward to the challenge and to helping support farm and estate businesses maintain and develop the land management systems that underpin so much of the National Park.
Farmers and land managers look after around 4,500 sq km of the Cairngorms National Park and are key partners in helping to look after and enhance this special place. Part of Bruce’s job will be to encourage people to take part in the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP), which will help deliver some of the aims outlined in the National Park Partnership Plan, as well as help boost farming and land management enterprises.
Bruce explained: “Coming from a farming background I know the hardships involved in raising livestock in upland areas because I have experienced them first hand. I know the challenges that face both the modern farming businesses in the area as well as the traditional.
“I am also very aware of the benefits that responsible management of the environment can bring to farming or other land management enterprises. These benefits support the wildlife and landscapes that people come here to enjoy, improve soil quality, cut costs and make both livestock and arable farming more productive.”
He added: “I think farmers and land managers are without doubt the most important people in the Park when it comes to shaping and enhancing the natural environment and with that in mind I want to make sure that environmental projects are created and implemented in a way which supports rural businesses. I’ll also be helping to identify sources or funding for projects and will be on hand to help farmers and land managers through the application process.”
Bruce joins from the CNPA from Buchan Agricultural Consultants Ltd and prior to that, he was Highland Regional Manager for NFU Scotland.
Commenting on Bruce’s appointment, Hamish Trench, the CNPA’s Strategic Land Use Director said: “We are delighted to have Bruce as part of the team. He brings existing strong relationships with farmers to the job and is well respected for his practical, common sense approach. It is crucial that farmers and land managers in the Park have the support they need to improve business viability and continue to enhance the fantastic landscapes and wildlife of the Cairngorms. Bruce will also take the lead for the Park Authority’s support groups such as the Cairngorms Farmers Forum and the monitor farm project.”