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 over 80 new entrants into the agricultural sector by providing over 124 opportunities and nearly 7,500 hectares of land.
Find out more: Farming Opportunities for New Entrants Group
We work with a number of organisations to identify possible opportunities across Scotland. The 2023 land opportunities are advertised below:
New entrants schemes/finance
The Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) 2014-20 included three dedicated grant schemes that helped kick-start more than 250 new agricultural businesses and assisted hundreds of other business development projects with around £24 million of support. These were the only type of their kind across the UK and proved extremely popular leading to their early closure in 2018 when their budgets were fully committed.
Later in 2023, we will announce additional support for new entrants in line with the commitment in the SNP 2021 Election Manifesto, though it is unlikely to include the type of capital funding made available in and around 2016 period.
In the meantime, support to new entrants will continue through FONE and the Scottish Land Matching Service which despite the profound impact of COVID will continue to engage with those seeking or offering joint venture arrangements. In addition, the National Reserve Young Farmer category is expected to continue through to 2024 providing young farmers the opportunity to receive an allocation of payment entitlements under the Basic Payment Scheme as is the Young Farmer Payment, which is also expected to continue providing young farmers a top-up to their Basic Payment Scheme.
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: Laura Henderson, SAC Consulting, Telephone: 01343 548 787 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
New entrants can find more information: