The First Minister has announced a grant of £50,000 to be given to the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institute (RSABI) to assist farmers and farm workers who have suffered hardship as a result of terrible weather that affected crops last year.

The grant funding will be administered through the charity which helps to relieve hardship and poverty among people who have depended on the land for their livelihoods.

Alex Salmond said: "Relying upon the land for your living is no easy task and I know that for some individuals the past year hasn't been easy due to circumstances outwith their control."

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Welcoming the grant, Dr Maurice Hankey, RSABI chief executive, said: "Every day we are speaking to farmers who are facing difficulties, both on the farm and in their households. They are asking if we can help. This funding will enable RSABI to put more financial support into the homes of these farmers to help themselves and their families to keep going until better conditions prevail.

"I would encourage any farmers who feel they are in crisis to get in touch with the charity to find out how we can help."


Aberdeen and Northern Marts sold 844.15 hectare units of Single Farm Payment entitlements for an average multiplier of 2 at the Thainstone Centre, Inverurie on Friday.

The top price was £1380 per hectare unit for 7.7 units with a value of €801.03 per unit, giving a multiplier of 2.2.

Four other lots sold for a multiplier of 2.2 including 11.86 hectare units worth €801.03 that made £1370 per unit and 108.5 hectare units valued at €565.84 that were bid to £950 per unit.

Wallets Marts sold 198 store heifers in Castle Douglas yesterday to a top of 226.6p per kg and an average of 198.9p, while 184 store, beef-bred bullocks peaked at 250p and levelled at 210p. Thirty-three store, B&W bullocks averaged 165p.

Harrison and Hetherington sold 22 prime heifers in Carlisle yesterday to a top of 236.5p and an average of 202.5p (-3.3p on the week), while 6 prime bullocks peaked at 241.5p and levelled at 200.8p (-6.9p). Eighty-seven young bulls sold to 233.5p and averaged 185.2p (+1.7p).

In the rough ring 80 beef cows averaged 149.4p (+2.4p) and 161 dairy cows levelled at 124.6p (+2.8p). Nine bulls averaged 181.1p (+18.4p).

The firm also sold 1945 prime hoggs to a top of £100 per head and 249.5p per kg to average 172.1p (+8.1p).

The 77 cast sheep forward saw heavy ewes sell to £104.50 for Texels and average £57.05 (-£2.12), while the only light ewes on offer were a pen of Swaledales that made £23.50.

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd sold 1678 prime hoggs at Ayr yesterday to a top of £85 and 202.4p to average 161.1p (+7.3p).

There were also 755 cast sheep with ewes selling to £96.50 for Texels and £54.50 for Blackfaces.