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Farming Scotland Conference shines light on industry issues


The agricultural industry gathered in Carnoustie today (Thursday, 7 February) to discuss the major issues facing the sector.

Weathering the storm was the theme for the 10th annual Farming Scotland Conference and it attracted farmers and those interested in the land and rural sector from across the country.

MEP George Lyon was the guest speaker at the conference after flying in from Brussels.

He spoke to delegates about his work at the European Parliament including the latest developments in the CAP Reform and the budget.

He also explained the massive uncertainty the sector is facing as the Scottish Independence vote looms.

George said: "If we become independent, the key issue is not will we get back into the EU but how long the negotiation will take and what happens in the interim?

"There are many unanswered questions.

"It's clear to me that if Scotland join the EU we will have to pay the price. It will be a full membership or nothing."

George questioned what currency would be used, how tax rates would be set and will the central belt agenda dominate, isolating the rural community? The question of access to the English market was also raised as between 60-80% of all lamb, beef and milk products are sold there as home market products.

He added: "These are questions that need to be addressed long before next October."

The conference was opened by Angus provost, Helen Oswald, and delegates also heard from chair of Potato Council, Allan Stevenson,and Jim McLaren, chair of Quality Meat Scotland and BBC Young Farmer of the Year 2012 finalist, Tom Rawson.

A panel session and lunch was also included at the event.

The conference was sponsored by Thorntons Law Firm, EQ Accountants, Bell Ingram and Royal Bank of Scotland.

Liz Barr, head of the Land and Rural team at Thorntons, said: “The Farming Scotland Conference always provides an opportunity for like-minded individuals to meet and discuss the problems facing the agricultural industry.

“The speakers provided a fascinating insight into their role within the sector and the feedback from delegates has been extremely positive.”

Keith Hopkins, partner at EQ Accountants, added: “Today marked the 10th anniversary of the Farming Scotland Conference and we are thrilled that it has been so well supported in 2013. We would like to thank all the speakers for attending and sharing their thoughts and experiences on issues that everyone at the event could identify with.”

The Farming Scotland Conference took place in the Carnoustie Golf Hotel and Spa.


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