Ten young farmers will have the opportunity to attend the Farming Scotland Conference to hear about the challenges facing the industry.
The conference, which will be held on Thursday, 6 February, in the Carnoustie Golf Hotel and Spa, unites the agricultural community for a day of discussion and debate.
The funding for the 10 places has been secured by Angus Council, which has supported the event for a number of years.
Eighteen-year-old Matthew Steel, who is currently studying at Agricultural College, attended the conference last year as a young farmer.
He said: “I really enjoyed the Farming Scotland Conference, it made me think about what would be good for our business and I came away with some great ideas.
“It was a really good mix of speakers with representatives from all across the industry – you couldn’t get a broader spectrum. I found Allan Stevenson, former chair of the Potato Council, really interesting and it was good to get some insight into the way the industry was going.”
Matthew’s family own Craignathro Farm, in Forfar, a mixed-use farm growing a range of seeds and vegetables, as well as keeping cattle and having a wind turbine on the land.
Matthew added: “It’s good that the council are supporting young famers – as future farmers the industry is important to us and we will be looking to build our businesses. This was a great chance to broaden our horizons and think about what we should be doing.”
The 2014 conference will welcome Jeremy Moody, secretary and advisor to the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV), as its keynote speaker. Delegates will also hear fromAdam Bedford, Policy Advisor for the British Agricultural Bureau, in Brussels, Martin Hamilton, fifth generation farmer from Northern Ireland, and Craig Grant, an egg farmer who was Farmers Weekly Young Farmer of the Year 2012.
Councillor Mairi Evans, Angus Council’s economic development spokesperson, said: “Agriculture is one of the key sectors in the local area and it’s important that we support the development of the next generation of farmers, ensuring they have all the tools they need to be a success in the industry.
“The Farming Scotland Conference is always a stimulating and informative event where some fantastic practitioners relish the opportunity to share their expertise and ideas with the young people who are the future of farming. It’s a tough sector so the council is pleased to be able to give the delegates the opportunity to tap into a wealth of experience, learn about new ventures and explore ideas with their peers.”
The conference is being sponsored by Bell Ingram, EQ Accountants, Royal Bank of Scotland and Thorntons and will be chaired by Graeme Davidson, partner at EQ.
Graeme said: “It’s vital that our future generations get the opportunity to hear about the current issues facing the sector and what challenges lie ahead as they will be instrumental in the development and growth of their own business.
“We are grateful to Angus Council for its continued commitment to the conference and we look forward to welcoming the young farmers to the conference in February.”