Chaired by David Barnes, the Scottish Government Head of Agriculture, the New Entrants Advisory Panel met for the first time yesterday and will advise Government on support for new entrants, including the position of entrants under the next Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP), as part of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms.
Announcing the development at the New Entrants Summit in Edinburgh, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "I'm passionate about the need to attract more new entrants to farming, but despite our innovative approaches under SRDP – such as being the first administration to introduce a dedicated new entrant scheme – fundamental problems remain. That's why we need real change through the CAP reforms."
Mr Lochhead went on to concede that one of the barriers to getting a foothold on the farming ladder is the lack of new farm units coming up to let on the open market. Another significant barrier is the unwillingness of banks to grant unsecured loans on the scale required to stock even a modest starter unit – and there is the scandal of those who started farming after 2005 not being granted Single Farm Payments.
Speaking at the summit yesterday, and giving his backing to the New Entrants Forum, NFU Scotland president Nigel Miller said: "Access to land remains a priority issue.
"Short-term devices such as short limited duration tenancies and limited duration tenancies offer access, but can be costly given their value and attractiveness to existing businesses.
"They also offer new starts time-limited security. This means traditional tenancies, which cover a significant area of Scottish farmland, are likely to remain the most important route in.
"That makes it important that, as older tenants wish to retire, we provide a pathway for a new generation to take over.
"When there is no direct succession in place, we need to establish how such farms can be made available to new blood, and that letting to the new generation is a viable alternative to merging units, or letting them to existing businesses.
"Another option worth developing is share farming. We have limited experience of this in Scotland, although this approach is widely adopted in places like New Zealand.
"It provides options to plan for retirement, build up capital or assets, generate a base to grow the business and deliver value to both partners."
Lawrie & Symington had 3241 ewes, gimmers and ewe and store lambs forward in Lanark on Tuesday. Top prices and averages: 592 Scotch Mule gimmers to £154 and averaged £129.88; 293 Texel gimmers £156 and £127.15; 741 Scotch Mule ewe lambs £120 and £86.25.
The Cumberland & Dumfriesshire Farmers' Mart sold 6386 store lambs in Longtown on Tuesday when all classes maintained last week's rates. Top prices and averages: Bleu d'Maine £66.50 and £66.18; Charollais £62 and £59.65; Suffolk £72 and £55.04; Texel £70 and £51.53; NCC £63.50 and £51.50; Herdwick £49 and £47.15; Hill Cheviots £59.50 and £44.17; Blackface £50 and £38.35; Swaledale £33 and £27.17.
Craig Wilson sold 26 prime heifers at Ayr on Tuesday to a top of 227p per kg and an average of 205.6p, while 11 prime bullocks also peaked at 227p and levelled at 200.5p. Seven young bulls sold to 225p and averaged 186.5p. In the rough ring, 116 beef cows averaged 133.8p, while 207 dairy cows levelled at 109.7p. Sixteen bulls averaged 133.7p.
There were also 24 dairy cattle forward at the September pedigree sale when quality types were in demand. Five pedigree Holstein heifers sold to 2200gns and averaged 1796gns, while five pedigree Holstein bulls peaked at 2600gns and levelled at 1880gns. Fourteen commercial dairy cattle sold to £2020 for a Friesian calved heifer and averaged £1444.29.