23 June 2000
If it’s too hard, get out of farming – Walker

By FWi staff

SCOTTISH farmers facing difficulties should get out of agriculture, says Jim Walker, leader of the National Farmers Union of Scotland.

Speaking on the opening day of the Royal Highland Show at Ingliston, near Edinburgh, Mr Walker said the mood had changed as the crisis continued

“This is the third Highland show in which theres been a huge depression in the industry, Mr Walker told the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today programme.

“Two years ago it was anger, now its a resignation to the situation theyre in and a lot of farmers simply dont know whether its worth going on or not.

“Maybe leaders like ourselves have to say, look if your capital base has been eroded, maybe its time to seriously consider your future and decide if its time to get out.

“Its a terrible thing to say, but its better that than farmers sinking further and further into the mire.”

Mr Walker believes farms will amalgamate and small farms rely increasingly on off-farm income, but said more government support was needed.

Earlier this week a survey by Lloyds TSB Bank said 4000 Scottish farmers – 20% of the countrys producers – must quit if the industry is to recover.