Scotland has unveiled an extra £5.9m to encourage new entrants into agriculture.

The money is the last round of rural priorities capital project funding from the Scotland Rural Development Programme.

Going towards 74 projects across Scotland, it means a total of £574.4m of funding has been approved for similar initiatives since 2008.

Projects include the construction of dairy sheds to improve animal welfare, a glasshouse to allow low carbon tomato and pepper production, and improvements to slurry storage.

“We must ensure there is fresh blood, talent and ideas to continue the great work which already goes on in the sector.”
Richard Lochhead

The Scottish government’s rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead announced the funding on the opening day of the Royal Highland Show at Ingliston on Thursday (20 June).

“It’s crucial that we do all we can to introduce new farmers to an industry which is vital to Scotland’s economy,” he said.

“We must ensure there is fresh blood, talent and ideas to continue the great work which already goes on in the sector.”

Meanwhile, a starter unit is being created at Balrobert Farm, near Inverness, which is part of the Scottish government’s bull stud at Knocknagael.

New entrants can apply to take over 108ha of land. The ideal tenancy proposal will be selected through a consultation process.

Mr Lochhead said: “I know new entrants are keen to get involved.

“The starter unit is a tenancy which will appeal to those people who see their future in agriculture and I’m sure this opportunity will generate plenty of interest.”

The future of farming relied on enthusiastic and dedicated new entrants, said Mr Lochhead. Balrobert Farm would provide a foot on the farming ladder for the successful applicant.

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