The challenges and concerns facing the agricultural industry were discussed today (Thursday, 6 February) at the annual Farming Scotland Conference.
More than 150 farmers and industry professionals attended the event in the Carnoustie Golf Hotel and Spa for a morning of discussion and networking.
Delegates heard from guest speaker Jeremy Moody, secretary and advisor to the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV), who spoke about the future challenges, opportunities and complexities facing farmers as the demand for food becomes stronger, the recasting of CAP and the continuing debate on land reform and tenancies.
Jeremy said: "Where does Scotland want its agriculture to be in 10 and 30 years’ time? How can it get there? How can we get more things right than wrong in this, helping farmers achieve rather than hindering them.
"This is a good time to take stock. I was thrilled to speak at today's Farming Scotland Conference, as it's a great platform for the farming industry to meet and discuss the concerns and issues.
"We now have some experience of the new market place with its greater demand, better prices but also greater volatility with all its challenges.
"There is the immediate pressure on Government to take the decisions urgently needed for it to manage the new system and for farmers to take sensible and informed decisions about their businesses in preparation for next year and the new CAP.
"We need to consider the best approach to the larger longer term issues of the structure of farming and its ability to respond to the challenges of the rapidly changing economy. Prolonged uncertainty with the land reform debate and deterring landlords from being willing to let can only make this harder.
"This is a chance for farmers as well as policy makers to review and shape the future for a sector that can thrive and it's for farmers to take the best decisions for their businesses.
The conference was opened by Angus Provost, Helen Oswald, and delegates also heard Adam Bedford, policy advisor for the British Agricultural Bureau, in Brussels, Martin Hamilton, fifth generation farmer from Northern Ireland, and Craig Grant, an Aberdeenshire egg farmer who was Farmers Weekly Young Farmer of the Year 2012.
The conference, which was sponsored by, Bell Ingram, EQ Accountants, Royal Bank of Scotland and Thorntons Law Firm, and was chaired by Graeme Davidson, partner at EQ.
He said: “The Farming Scotland Conference has become a key date in the agricultural calendar and it has been another hugely successful event.
“I would like to thank the speakers for attending and sharing their thoughts and experiences – each presentation was interesting and thought-provoking which made for lively conversation and debate.
“With the challenges in the sector at the moment it’s more important than ever to host an event for like-minded people to meet and discuss what lies ahead. The support for the conference continues to grow year on year and we look forward to welcoming everyone back in 2015.”