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Land reforms to be discussed at public meetings

The Land Reform Review Group (LRRG), set up by the Scottish Government to provide it with " innovative and radical proposals on land reform", has organised a series of public meetings.

The next one is to be held in Dumfries at the Crichton Institute on Thursday, January 10, starting at 7.30pm.

The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association (STFA) has circulated a confidential questionnaire with its winter newsletter for farm tenants who do not want to attend the meetings and voice their opinions.

Angus McCall, chairman of the STFA, told the Herald: "The work of the LRRG is likely to shape the future thinking of the Scottish Government. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to influence the future of rural Scotland, and I would urge all tenant farmers to express their views on issues which will impact on tenant farming, such as the operation of right-to-buy legislation and the creation of possible pathways to encourage new entrants into agriculture.

"The LRRG are keen to hear from a range of people, and tenant farmers should not feel shy to go along.

"STFA is carrying out a survey of members to accurately reflect the collective voice of tenant farmers in their response to the LRRG's call for evidence."

The Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee, led by Rob Gibson MSP, is also looking into land reform issues as part of its remit.

Recognising that tenants are reluctant to speak in public, Mr Gibson will hold hearings "in camera".

Market round-up

The Cumberland and Dumfriesshire Farmers Mart had 32 prime cattle forward at their sale in Dumfries on Wednesday.

Bullocks sold to 230.5p per kg and averaged 224.9p, while heifers peaked at 237.5p and levelled at 207.3p.

There were 78 OTM cattle presented in the rough ring when beef cows averaged 111.9p and dairy cows levelled at 95.2p.

The firm also sold 1421 prime lambs to a top of £84 per head and 183p per kg to average 141.2p.

A larger show of 630 cast sheep met a cheaper trade as a result of the large number of ewes that lacked flesh. Heavy ewes sold to £99.50 for Texels and averaged £46.50, while light ewes peaked at £51.50 for Blackfaces and levelled at £37.50.

United Auctions sold 131 store bullocks at Stirling on Wednesday to a top of 238.2p and an average of 192.9p (+0.1p on the week), while 31 store heifers peaked at 202.2p and levelled at 191.3p (-1.2p).

In the rough ring 71 cows averaged 113.9p.

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd sold 42 store bullocks at Ayr yesterday to a top of £1230 per head and 224p per kg to average £830.60 and 192.7p, while 40 store heifers peaked at £1150 and 221.3p.

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Agriculture

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