Farmers and crofters in Scotland are being encouraged to have their say on the future direction of the new devolved Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) Scotland.
The organisation gained independence from the UK-wide FWAG last month, after 25 years of involvement.
An official launch of FWAG Scotland will be held in the New Year, although in the early stages, the new board is meeting monthly and welcomes views from all farmer members and non-members on the role FWAG Scotland should play.
Steve Hunt, FWAG director in Scotland, said one of the most critical roles would be to raise public awareness about the wider benefits farming delivered.
“FWAG in England is becoming more closely linked with the NFU. While this partnership is valuable we want a broader approach in Scotland to cover all our farmer, crofter and landowning interest.
“After talks with the new administration in Edinburgh we established that there is a clear need for an organisation such as FWAG in Scotland, providing impartial advice to farmers and landowners, particularly with the imminent arrival of the new Scottish Rural Development Plan.”
FWAG UK’s managing director Andy Ormiston added that while FWAG Scotland was a loss for the UK body, independence was a natural step mirroring the devolved administrations that govern farming policy.
“The UK Board has had to make some difficult decisions over these last months in finding the best business direction for FWAG through a challenging period of change.
“Full autonomy is a positive step for Scotland and provides greater opportunity to attract and direct funding within the devolved administration. Strong links however will be maintained with its counterparts in Northern Ireland, Wales and England where we share common interests and expertise”.