Policy actions  1 of 2

New entrants to farming

Attracting new entrants to Scottish farming is crucial to the ongoing vitality, resilience and competitiveness of the sector. 

Finding a way into farming can be a daunting prospect, particularly if the prospective new entrant does not come from a farming background. Even in farming families, the business might not be of sufficient scale to support a new entrant. 

We recognise there are considerable challenges to entering the sector. Access to finance, land, advice, training and skills are all potential barriers.  We have, therefore, put in place a number of initiatives to help with entry.

Farming Opportunities for New Entrants (FONE) group

We set up the FONE group in late 2016 to provide a co-ordinated approach to developing opportunities for new entrants.  So far, FONE has helped around 60 new entrants into the agricultural sector by providing over 90 opportunities and over 6,400 hectares of land. 

Find out more: Farming Opportunities for New Entrants Group

Land opportunities

We work with a number of organisations to identify possible opportunities across Scotland. The summer 2020 land opportunities are advertised below:

Land opportunity: 
1. Knockbain Farm is a 200 ha mixed farm adjacent to the town of Dingwall, in Ross-shire. The land at Blackwells, Dingwall is one of their tenanted units and consists of a 37.74 ha (93.75 acre) section of the farm. The aim is to help deliver the economic, environmental and social objectives of the farm partnership. This is targeted at those entering/progressing in farming and who take a positive, enterprising approach to challenges of sustainable, climate friendly food production.

A deadline for submission has not been set at the current time. This will allow potential applicants to think about proposals, pending changes to the Covid-19 restrictions and perhaps visit the farm later in the year. Applicants considering applying should submit a brief expression of interest to be kept informed on application timescale/deadline.
Contact details:
Richard Lockett is the contact for potential applicants.
Web site: www.knockbainfarm.co.uk
Email: blackwells.dingwall@gmail.com

2. Update re Covid-19 – this unit may not be available until late 2020/early 2021.
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) are offering an opportunity at Rhynie Chert Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) where SNH consider their environmental and land management objectives can be met by way of low input/output farming methods.  For further details please see  Scottish Natural Heritage website or email TAYSIDE_GRAMPIAN@nature.scot. NB: Applicants should be aware that there is another opportunity very nearby being offered by Forestry and Land Scotland (above) and may wish to apply for both opportunities to support a larger enterprise (again may not be available until late 2020/early 2021).

New entrants schemes/finance

Through the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) we have helped more than 250 new agricultural businesses and assisted hundreds of other business development projects with around £24 million of support. 

The schemes are currently closed to applications, but we have made clear our commitment to support new entrants as we begin the process of developing a new rural support policy.

Advice and mentoring

The Farm Advisory Service New Entrants to Farming Programme includes activities to aid potential and aspiring new entrants into the agricultural industry.

This includes access to a network of groups across the country helping people at various stages in developing their business.  For more information or where to find your nearest group contact: Kirsten Williams, SAC Consulting, Telephone: 01888 563333 or email: Kirsten.Williams@sac.co.uk

If you are considering becoming a farmer or crofter, or have set up business in the last five years, then you are also entitled to free support through the Farm Advisory Service’s mentoring programme

Related information

New entrants can find more information: