Small Producers Pilot Fund Steering Group: terms of reference

Terms of reference for the group.

Purpose and scope

The Steering Group will inform and oversee the development of the Small Producers Pilot, which will aim to enable small producers to contribute to delivering the Scottish Government’s Vision for Agriculture, the Scottish Government’s Good Food Nation ambitions and Local Food strategy. In particular the pilot will assist in creating more localised food supply chains, enhance producer value and cut food miles and support individual small producers to increase their skills to enable them to enhance their contribution to the rural economy.

The pilot will provide a mechanism to clearly contribute towards complementary Scottish Government outcomes, a lighter administrative burden for customer and administration; and crucially a model of support that enables smaller producers to adapt their business towards greater sustainability and resilience, this approach will focus on non-capital support.


The Group will bring forward practical solutions for small producers including but not limited to:

  • access to training skills and identify any shortages in the provision of training
  • marketing skills/expert support/ interrogating market research
  • localised food supply chains/routes to markets including online
  • local food processing opportunities including access to abattoirs
  • local food networks
  • demonstrate solutions for small scale horticultural producers and growers
  • access to Agritech solutions fit for small producers

The Group will ensure the timeous creation of the Pilot during 2023.

The group will also ensure that the Pilot:

  • clearly contributes to Scottish Government outcomes
  • has a relevant and easy to use administrative process for the end user
  • supports and enables small producers to adapt their business towards greater sustainability and resilience
  • supports smaller producers to increase the proportion of food grown and processed by small farms and small holders and consumed locally by the community, including for people on low incomes affected by the cost of living crisis also impacting child poverty
  • increases equality of opportunity, inclusivity, efficiency and profitability for small producers
  • will identify what small producers require to regularly access and utilise key facilities such as abattoirs
  • will identify solutions to meet the training requirements of small producers
  • will promote, encourage and develop networks within small producers, their products and customer base

The group will also ensure that the monitoring and evaluation methodology is suitable to enable the Pilot to be measured.

As this pilot is resource funding only, innovative and creative ideas or solutions are essential to maximise the impact of this funding.

Provisional timetable

The Group will deliver these outcomes through a threefold phased approach based on a provisional timetable:

February to May or June 2023

Information gathering and research: information gathering with stakeholder organisations to assess their members’ needs; identify crossovers with existing schemes/support mechanisms; conduct a short survey with small producers on key challenges and exploration of potential collaborative solutions, including the use of abattoirs.

May or June to September 2023

Building and developing a pilot grant scheme in collaboration with stakeholders: Deploy learnings from previous Small Farm Grant Scheme, Crofting Grant Schemes, and Women in Agriculture Practical Training Fund to finalise pilot scheme parameters and create monitoring method to measure success and impact. Once the pilot has been developed the application and scoring process will be trialled to test operational effectiveness; utilising focus and test groups provided by the Scottish Government.

October 2023 onwards

Agree governance, management, monitoring and operational requirements for the scheme: to enable Scottish Minister to consider launching the pilot during late Autumn/Winter 2023.

Duration of group and frequency of Steering Group meetings

Participation in the steering group is on a voluntary basis. Reasonable expenses incurred to attend in person meetings will be reimbursed through SAOS.

During the initial phase of work the Group meetings will take place typically at monthly intervals on a Tuesday (TBC) and last approximately 2-3 hours. Following the initial phase, the frequency of meetings and duration will be reviewed depending on progress.

In light of the likely geographical spread of the membership the Group will predominantly meet virtually with the option to meet in person as required

The Group will be time limited, with an anticipated life span until Autumn/Winter 2023.


Membership of the Group comprises a balance of interests. Members have been appointed to provide the necessary breadth of expertise and knowledge required to deliver the required outcome. Members attending any in person meetings, reasonable, out of pocket expenses incurred in consequence of participation will be reimbursed by SAOS. The members of this Group are set out below:

  • Helen Glass – Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS) (CHAIR) 
  • David Michie – National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS)
  • Ceri Ritchie – Scotland’s Rural University College (SRUC) 
  • Donald MacKinnon – Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF)
  • David McKay – Soil Association Scotland (SAS)
  • Rosemary Champion – Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST)
  • Martin Beard - Smallholding Scotland (SS)
  • Diana Garduño Jiménez – Nourish Scotland (NS)
  • Adam Forrest – Scotland Food and Drink (SFD)
  • Fiona Richmond – Scotland Food and Drink (SFD)
  • Liz Barron-Majerik – Lantra Scotland
  • Justin Orde – South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE)
  • Debs Roberts – Scottish Organic Producers Association (SOPA)
  • Tara Wight - Land Workers Alliance (LWA)
  • Scott Walker - Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW)
  • Rep from Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN)
  • Abi Mordin - Hidden Veg and Propagate
  • Flora Corbett (Isle of Mull)
  • Archie Hipwell (Wester Cockairney, Kinross)
  • Jo Hunt (Knockfarrel Produce)


At least six sector representative members of the Group shall be present to form a quorum including the Chair.

Governance and accountability

The Group will be chaired by Helen Glass SAOS. SAOS  will liaise with the Agricultural Holdings & Women in Agriculture Team and they will be accountable to the Agricultural Programme Board and the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands.

Terms of engagement

Each Group member has been identified on the basis of their range of experience and knowledge. All members will be mindful of other member views and the Group will take a collegiate approach to development of the pilot. If there are elements of meetings which are to be treated under Chatam house rules, Group members should identify this at the start of that discussion.  The work of the Group must be treated as confidential until its work is completed. Any media articles or press releases must be agreed in advance with Secretariat and the Scottish Government policy team in advance of publication. Members may be asked to leave the Group if they are unable to meet these terms.

Conduct of business

SAOS will provide independent and impartial chairing in addition to secretariat support to the Steering Group. The SAOS secretariat will manage the flow of information to and from the Group, and who will respond to stakeholder queries and provide updates to stakeholders as required. They will also arrange for meetings of the Group and will issue an agenda and papers, where appropriate, in advance of Group meetings. They will engage with the Scottish Government and other sources for data and evidence requests; including presentations from key organisations and individuals.

The design of the Pilot will be supported by Scottish Government policy teams who will ensure the final outcome meets Scottish Government objectives. Officials from Local Food Strategy, Organics, Livestock products policy, RPID Scheme management and Agricultural Holdings & Women in Agriculture Team will attend meetings when required.


Minutes and action points from the meetings will be shared with the Group membership in advance of the next meeting. These will not be publicised except with the prior agreement of group members. All members of the group are expected to reply to correspondence in a timely manner.

These Terms of Reference will be updated in discussion with the Scottish Government policy team as required.

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