New opportunities for farming start-ups

New opportunities for farming start-ups

Budding farmers in Scotland are being given the chance to make their dreams a reality as part of a unique campaign recently extended by the Scottish Government.

Rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead launched a campaign in 2012 offering public owned land to aspiring farmers to help get their foot on the ladder.

Successful entrants are then given a 10 year lease to enable them to build up a farming business using land and property on the National Forest Estate. 

11 starter farms have already been created on Scottish Government land since its launch, which is managed on Scottish Ministers’ behalf by Forest Enterprise Scotland.

Following the success of the campaign, the government is now looking to extend the programme in order to ensure the industry continues to grow.

Lochhead said: “Ensuring the next generation of farmers can get a foothold on the farming ladder is absolutely crucial for the future of the industry that puts food on our tables.

“Our innovative approach of creating starter farms on public land has been a hugely successful way of doing this which is why I last year established an expert group to maximise the amount of publicly-owned land available to young farmers.

“Even though the group has yet to submit its final report, we are now beginning to reap the rewards of its endeavours with even more starter farms and opportunities for young farmers coming onto the market.”

More information on the starter farm initiative and details of how to apply is at www.forestry.gov.ukstarterfarms