As part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to developing opportunities for new entrants, one of the most visible initiatives of recent years was the chance to lease part-time starter units on Scotland’s National Forest Estate: http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/supporting/grants-and-regulations/farm-woodlands/starter-farms. As a result, in July 2015 the Scottish Government announced plans to set up a working group to maximise the amount of publicly owned land used to help the farmers of the future.
The working group’s report - New Farming Starter Opportunities on Publicly Owned Land: http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0051/00510416.pdf
In response, the Scottish Government put in place a new group to develop opportunities for the new entrants including those identified within the report.
The Farming Opportunities for New Entrants (FONE) group met for the first time during December 2016 with a specific remit to: “Develop a Farming Opportunities for New Entrants Programme”.
The membership of FONE group is:
Chair – Henry Graham: National Chair of Lantra Scotland, member of Forestry Commission Scotland’s (FCS) National Committee and Scottish Government’s Education and Training Champion;
Ian Davidson: Head of Scottish Government’s Agriculture Policy Division;
Stewart Hendry: Agricultural advisor at Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES);
Harriet Donald: Land Use Manager Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park; FCS Starter Farmer Port of Menteith;
Kirsten Williams: SAC Consultant and farms the FCS Starter Farm at Huntly;
Clare Sturla: Agri & Rural Affairs Manager at the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC);
Sarah-Jane Laing: Executive Director at Scottish Land and Estates (SL&E).
Priorities for 2018
As key priorities for 2018, the FONE group will:
1. Liaise with Councils and other organisations with publically owned land to identify opportunities for 2018;
2. Explore a potential Brokerage Service to match people to opportunities;
3. Focus on Crofting and the way ahead with sub-letting on the RPID Estate;
4. Facilitate Share Farming Case Studies for the Dairy and Pig Sectors;
5. Facilitate production of videos of New Entrants participating in the Farm Advisory Service New Entrant Programme;
6. Maintain momentum in FONE through marketing and promotion opportunities.