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Fergus Ewing launches working group on farming policy

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Fergus Ewing launches working group on farming policy

The Scottish Government has formed a working group made up of food producers, consumer and environmental organisations to steer future policy on farming.

Aiming to make recommendations next year, the Farming and Food Production Future Policy Group will consider food production in response to climate change and Brexit, with a focus on the period beyond 2024.

It will also make suggestions based on the changing conditions brought by the loss of biodiversity and the demographics of the rural population.

The group will provide advice and ideas, while also testing the Scottish Government’s own ideas and proposals.

Convening the first meeting of the group while at the Royal Highland Show, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “People are the food and farming industry’s greatest resource so I am delighted that such an array of talented, experienced and knowledgeable people has agreed to join this group and I look forward to convening its first meeting today. It will provide its views and expertise to support Scottish Government officials in making recommendations on future farming and food production policy built around the six principles set out earlier this year to Parliament.

“Scotland’s landscape and climate provide us with an unrivalled natural larder. We need to develop policies which support both, to ensure that our status as a high quality producer of food is maintained and grows. 

“Crucially, we need an integrated approach that will ensure that Scotland’s land assets play their part in responding to and mitigating the global climate emergency. I look forward to hearing the proposals.”

Anne McCall, director of RSPB Scotland, was also announced as one of the members of the group.

She said: “I am delighted to accept this invitation to join the Farming and Food Production Group (FFPG), which will explore and make recommendations on future farming and food production policy.

“This is a critical time as we are currently experiencing both a climate emergency and a biodiversity crisis. How we farm and produce our food in the future will be a vitally important part of the solution to addressing both of these.

“This work is urgent and I look forward to collaborating with others to generate the best ideas and proposals we can. It is critical that we get the right policies in place to support farmers and land managers in ways that help our climate and wildlife at the same times as enabling the production of Scottish quality food.”

The group is made up of:

Andrew Watson (Chair), Director Scottish Government

John Kerr, Head of Agricultural Policy Scottish Government

George Burgess, Deputy Director Scottish Government

Martin Kennedy, National Farmers Union Scotland

Sarah Alison, Quality Meat Scotland

Lucy Husband, Food and Drink Scotland

Citizens Advice Scotland

Marion McCormick, former Aldi executive

Robbie Galloway, Scotbeef

Aoife Behan, Soil Association

Anne McCall, RSPB Scotland

Deborah Long, SE Link

Ian Muirhead, Harbo

Joyce Campbell, sheep farmer, entrepreneur

James Graham, Beef 2020 Industry Group and Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society

Lisa Buchanan, Crofter

Robert Graham, Grahams Family Dairy Group

Hugh Campbell Adamson, Stracathro Estates

Alison Milne, Demperston Farm

Lochy Porter, Angus Fruits

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