Two new farmer-led groups are being established to develop advice and proposals to the Scottish Government on how to cut emissions and tackle climate change as reaffirmed in the recently published climate change plan.

They will focus on the dairy and high nature value sectors. The dairy group will be chaired by Jackie McCreery, director of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland and the Royal Highland Educational Trust, with the hill, upland and crofting group (HUCG) being co-chaired by Martin Kennedy, vice-president of NFU Scotland, and Joyce Campbell, chair of the Women in Agriculture taskforce.

These groups bring the number of farmer-led climate groups to five, following on from the industry-led pig sector group, the arable sector group, which met for the first time in December, and the suckler beef climate group which has already published recommendations with a separate programme board having been set up to take these forward. Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “I am pleased to be announcing the chairs of the new dairy group and HUCG. [The groups] will help to reduce emissions and [in] tackling climate change, which has long been a priority for Scotland, shown in our world-leading, ambitious targets."

He noted Mr Kennedy was “himself a tenant farmer”, while Ms Campbell was a “knowledgeable crofter” and Ms McCreery was a partner in a dairy and arable farm.

Mr Ewing said: “I look forward to working closely alongside the new chairs of the groups. Martin Kennedy, himself a tenant farmer, brings a wealth of experience and leadership to the role and will co-chair the HUCG, alongside Joyce Campbell, a knowledgeable crofter with vast experience of teaching others. Jackie McCreery, a partner in a dairy and arable farm, will chair the dairy group. Her rural background and extensive knowledge will be hugely beneficial. All three chairs will relish the opportunity to work together and identify practical solutions to meet our goals. I look forward to seeing their outputs in the near future”.

Mr Kennedy said “Scottish farmers and crofters have shown that they are eager to innovate and adapt their businesses to support the green recovery and tackle climate, change while improving efficiency, without compromising on the quality of produce. The union is very encouraged that many representatives from Scottish agriculture, food and drink sectors are already working as part of groups established by the Scottish Government to respond to climate change and we welcome these two additional farmer-led climate change groups. I’m delighted to have been invited to co-chair the HUGC.

“As ever, NFU Scotland remains keen to work with [the] Scottish Government to ensure that policy decisions can deliver practical solutions in the fields. Such partnership engagement will influence positive next steps to delivering the collective ambition of meeting Scotland’s climate change targets.”