Virtual Annual Conference – gearing up for change in rural Scotland

Annual Conference

Virtual Annual Conference – gearing up for change in rural Scotland

Time 10:00 - 16:30
Cost 95.00
Cost (Members) 45.00
Capacity This event is currently fully booked. To be added to our waiting list click here
Booking Cut-off Sunday 8 Nov, 12:00:pm
Organiser Jane Laing
This Event has passed its booking cutoff date.


Gearing up for change in rural Scotland


Sponsored by

Our flagship annual conference is a must-attend event for anyone with an interest in rural Scotland. The event will offer insight, practical tips with delegates from across the sector. This year’s topic ‘gearing up for change in rural Scotland’ will showcase real examples of innovation from land-based businesses who are not only tackling climate change but improving their bottom line. You will also hear from landowners and tenants who have a real understanding of their market and have successfully diversified. All of this, along with experts on carbon trading, natural capital, forestry and more, will ensure you will leave the event full of practical ideas and steps you can take right now to help you gear up for change.

To view programme click here
To find out about our Conference Exhibitors click here.
To view full Conference booklet click here.


We are offering 20 Student tickets free of charge on a first-come-first-served basis.  To claim your ticket, please email with your name and a scanned copy of your matriculation card.


Confirmed speakers

We have 17 confirmed speakers including:

Conference Host & Chair: 

David LeeDavid Lee, David Lee Media & Events Ltd

David Lee has hosted 250-plus events over the last decade, from large policy conferences to intimate round-table discussions. He re-shaped his business quickly after the enforced changes of Covid-19 and has already hosted more than 20 online conferences and webinars.


Keynote speakers: 

Prof Dieter Helm Professor Dieter Helm

Dieter is an Official Fellow in Economics at New College, Oxford and Professor of Economic policy at the University of Oxford. He is Chair of the Natural Capital Committee.


Alister JackThe Rt Hon Alister Jack MP, Secretary of State for Scotland

Alister Jack was appointed Secretary of State for Scotland on 24 July 2019. He was previously Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury and a Government Whip.


Our panel discussion speakers include:

Sarah-Jane Laing

Sarah-Jane Laing, Chief Executive, Scottish Land & Estates

Sarah-Jane was appointed as Chief Executive of Scottish Land & Estates (SLE) in December 2019, the first woman to hold this role in the organisation’s 110 year history. Sarah-Jane also represents SLE on a large number of external stakeholder groups.

Mark Tennant

Mark Tennant, SLE Chairman

Mark’s career has ranged from tending refugees to investment banking. Mark became SLE’s Vice-Chairman Policy in 2018, and in April 2020 became SLE's Chairman at our online Annual General Meeting.


Stephen Young

Stephen Young, SLE Head of Policy

Stephen joined SLE in August 2019 from the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS), where he was project manager. Stephen is responsible for managing SLE’s policy team, as well as leading development of SLE’s policy positions and guiding the provision of member advice.

Yanik Nyberg

Yanik Nyberg, Seawater Solutions

Yanik Nyberg is the director of Seawater Solutions, an agri-environmental company based in Glasgow that turns degraded farmland around the UK and internationally into wetland and saltmarsh ecosystems for climate resilience.

Eilidh Smith

Eilidh Smith, Morton of Pitmilly Countryside Resort

Managing Director of Morton of Pitmilly, Eilidh has 13 years of experience of operating a successful tourism business on a small arable farm. In this time the business has gone through continued diversification and growth, succession, change of entity and continues to prosper 30 years on.

Alec Telfer

Alec Telfer, Broadmeadows

After 14 years livestock farming In South Lanarkshire, Alec bought the small 1400 acre estate of Broadmeadows near Selkirk. He has fully embraced the enhancement of the environment and made huge steps to contribute to the prevention of catastrophic climate change.

Jeremy Thompson

Jeremy Thompson, Forest Direct Ltd

With 44 years in the Forest Industry starting as a forest worker to creating his own consultancy business, Jeremy is really excited that forestry is now forging ahead in Scotland and in response he is building up a team that represents the older experienced foresters and a young, tech aware team members that will become the future.

John Sincliar

John Sinclair, Craigie's Farm

John was born at West Craigie Farm in 1968 and has lived there ever since. There was never any doubt in his mind that he would do anything else apart from being involved in farming, although he now has to work harder and harder to still call himself a farmer!

Graeme McNaughton

Graeme McNaughton, Barclays

Graeme is a Chartered Banker with 36 years of experience and leads Barclays Landed Estates Team in Scotland. He works with clients and their trusted advisors to structure banking solutions that suit the family and the Estate as a whole for a totally bespoke solution.

Adrian DolbyAdrian Dolby, Head of Agriculture, Buccleuch

Adrian is Head of Agriculture at Buccleuch and sits on Buccleuch’s Executive Committee. He has responsibility for strategy and investment across Buccleuch’s in-hand farms, a diverse portfolio of crop, livestock, poultry, energy and environment schemes.

Sheila GeorgeDr Sheila George, WWF Food and Environment Policy Manager

Sheila George is Food and Environment Policy Manager at WWF Scotland, with a particular focus on land use and nature-based solutions to climate change. For the last 6 years, she has specialised in land use policy in Scotland.

Ian Hope

Ian Hope, Galbraith

Ian is Head of the Galbraith Rural Department which serves a diverse range of clients from major companies to private individuals seeking advice and management of their rural properties. As well as being an AMC Agent, he also carries out farm and estate sales throughout Scotland.

Fergus Ewing MSPFergus Ewing, MSP

Fergus Stewart Ewing is a Scottish politician, serving as the Scottish Government's Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and the Scottish National Party Member of the Scottish Parliament for Inverness and Nairn.        

Colin SmythColin Smyth, MSP

Colin Smyth MSP is a Scottish Labour Party politician who has been a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the South Scotland region since the 2016 Scottish Parliament election. He was general secretary of the Scottish Labour Party 2008−2012.

LMLiam McArthur MSP

Liam grew up in Orkney and attended Kirkwall Grammar School, before graduating from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in Politics. He was elected as Orkney’s MSP in 2007, following a period as a Special Advisor to the then Deputy First Minister, Jim Wallace.

Oliver-Head&ShouldersOliver Mundell, MSP

Oliver has represented his home constituency of Dumfriesshire in the Scottish Parliament since May 2016. He is the Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism and currently a member of the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee. 


You can find out more about all our speakers here

Thank you to our Sponsors:

Barclays     Galbraith

Thank you to our Conference Exhibitors!

Find out more about them here!


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