Its primary function is growing trees but Forestry Commission Scotland also has a little known involvement in agriculture and is now to create its first Highland starter farm.

The farm will be on 340 acres just purchased at Achnamoine, near Halkirk, in Caithness, and will be the eighth such holding in Scotland. The other FCS starter farms are in Fife, Ayrshire, Stirlingshire, Aberdeenshire and Dumfriesshire.

They give new farmers an opportunity to get their first foothold in the industry and are part of the FCS's repositioning programme. This sees the agency selling off areas of land that it doesn't need and then use the money to buy new areas of land.

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Successful entrants to a starter farm are given a 10-year lease to enable them to build up a farming business using land and property on the FCS land.