Harper welcomes First Minister’s Commitments on Farming

 South of Scotland MSP Emma Harper yesterday( wednesday 8 February 2017)  welcomed commitments to farming by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made during her speech at NFU Scotland’s AGM in which committed the Scottish Government to fighting for the best possible deal for the  industry at home and in Europe in the wake of Brexit.


First Minister confirmed Professor Russel Griggs will chair a group designed to ensure a profitable, sustainable and environmentally friendly future for the agriculture industry. To help grow new markets for Scottish red meat, the First Minister announced £16,000 will be made available to support a promotion drive at key international food shows.


Ms Harper also congratulated the new President of NFU Scotland Andrew McCornick, who farms near Lochfoot, Dumfries and Galloway and Vice-President Gary Mitchell, who farms at West Galdenoch, near Stranraer, on their election.


Emma commented:


Brexit presents the biggest challenge to farming in Scotland in our generation. Agriculture is a more important part of Scotland’s economy than the UK because of our landscape and climate and it is a vital part of the economy of Dumfries & Galloway. So it’s important for the agriculture sector that Scotland has a strong say in the negotiations with the EU.


“I welcome the appointment of Professor Russel Griggs to chair a group to review the Scottish Government’s approach to greening and make recommendations for a profitable, sustainable and environmentally friendly industry.


“In addition, it is also vital that any powers which are transferred from the European Union, at the time of Brexit, must go to the Scottish Parliament rather than to Westminster. It is the best way of ensuring that future decisions on farming reflect Scotland’s distinct priorities.


“Of course, now more than ever, it’s important that we look to the future and continue expanding the market for Scotland, and Dumfries & Galloway’s high quality produce. So I also welcome the additional work which will take place this year to promote Scotland’s quality meat sector at trade fairs in Asia and North America. This will build on the work we’ve already done to boost our dairy brand, and it will help send the message that Scotland is open for business.


“I’m also very pleased to see that two of the NFUS’ new top team are Dumfries & Galloway farmers, Andrew McCornick and Gary Mitchell, and I’m confident they will both do their utmost to promote our region’s interests along with those of Scottish agriculture as a whole. I congratulate them on their election and wish them both well in their posts.”


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