03 June 1999
Scots rural minister reassures farmers

SCOTTISH rural affairs minister Ross Finnie has assured farming leaders that they should not be concerned about his job title and that he recognises that agriculture is at the heart of rural affairs.

“We were heartened that the new minister gave that commitment to agriculture. We told him farmers had a high level of expectation from the Scottish Parliament and expected it to make a difference to their lives,” said Scottish NFU president Jim Walker after his first meeting with Mr Finnie.

“We explained that pig, poultry, and dairy farmers were under enormous price pressure at the moment and he has agreed to visit both a dairy and a pig farm within the next fortnight,” said Mr Walker.

The Scottish Landowners Federation and the Scottish Crofters Union were also at the meeting.

SLF convenor Andrew Dingwall-Fordyce welcomed the statement from the minister that he planned an integrated programme for the countryside and for his department to be involved in housing, transport, and health issues.