Applications are now open for new farmers to run the first Forestry Commission Scotland starter farm in the Highlands.
The new starter farm area is to be based at Achnamoine, near Halkirk in Caithness.
There will be a viewing day at Achnamoine on the 17th September for all those with an interest. Full applications will then have to be submitted before 21st October.
This starter farm would be an ideal opportunity for a new farmer looking for a start in an integrated livestock and woodland environment.
Successful entrants to a starter farm are usually given a 10 year lease to enable them to build up a farming business using land and property on the National Forest Estate.
Robin Waddell, Forestry Commission Scotland’s agricultural advisor said:
“Getting the first foot on the farming ladder is no easy task. Opportunities don’t come up that often and when they do they can be out of the price of new farmers.
“Forestry Commission Scotland’s starter farm programme aims to help new farmers into the sector and give them that first vital step. It is a great way to demonstrate a more integrated use of the National Forest Estate, bringing together farming and forestry.”
The land for the starter farm has become available as a result of the Commission’s Scotland-wide repositioning programme, which involves selling areas with low potential to allow investment in new land that delivers greater benefits.
The starter farm is likely to be around 111 hectares in size with 56 ha improved pasture and 45 ha rough grazing. Outwith the farming area, there is potential for up to 27 ha of woodland planting too with most of this being on the rough land.
A programme of upgrades to Achnamoine farmhouse and steading is currently being finalised and be completed in time for the successful tenants to move in during Spring 2015.