22 June 2000
Scots must lose 4000 farms, says bank

ONE in five Scottish farmers must quit if the industry is to recover from the worst collapse in incomes since the 1930s, according to a survey by Lloyds TSB Bank

The forecast would mean the disappearance of more than 4000 of Scotlands farms, reports The Daily Telegraph.

Donald MacRae, senior economist of Lloyds TSB, said a shakeout removing 20% of producers and creating larger more efficient farms was needed if the industry was to survive.

He said Scottish farmers had a collective income of just over 200 million last year, despite government and EU subsidies totalling 488m and output of 2bn.

The survey revealed that more than 20% of farmers plan to retire within the next five years, and that fewer than half had a successor to carry on the business.

Mr MacRae called for a government-backed early retirement scheme to ease the process.

The Telegraph also reports that the Duke of Buccleuch, Scotlands largest landowner, is to drastically wind down his farming operations around Thornhill in Dumfriesshire.

It says no tenant farmers are affected, all the machinery will be sold and all cereals will be grown on a contract arrangement.

However, estate jobs will be lost.