14 May 1999

Danger of exodus

FARMERS in the most fragile areas of Scotland are ready to jump ship, tempted by rising beef cattle and sheep quota values and, possibly, an early retirement scheme, according to Jim Walker, president of the Scottish NFU.

"Such a move will have huge implications for rural structure, the environment and tourism. We have warned the government and the environmental agencies of real danger ahead," he told 250 farmers in south-west Scotland on Tuesday. &#42