Farmers from across Scotland rallied at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh last week highlighting to politicians the importance of farming to the rural economy.
A crowd of 250 heard from NFUS president Allan Bowie before being addressed by Deputy First Minister John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie and Scottish Labour spokesperson Sarah Boyack.
Eight weeks before a Scottish election, farmers aimed to engage with all the Scottish MSPs to underline that the farming industry’s position as the cornerstone of the rural community is coming under threat.
A double whammy of poor prices and a calamitous delivery of support payments has created a cash flow crisis that has hit farms and all those businesses that supply them with goods.
Under the banner #nofarmersnofood, the Union used the rally to reiterate to politicians that Scottish agriculture produces £3 billion of high quality food and drink annually, more than 67,000 people are directly employed in Scottish agriculture and a further 360,000 people are employed in a Scottish food and drink sector, currently valued at £14 billion.
In addition, farmers and crofters are responsible for the environmental safekeeping of land equivalent to more than 2.1 million football pitches and, increasingly, farm-based businesses are driving forward Scotland’s tourism sector and our renewable energy ambitions.
President Allan Bowie said: “Hundreds of Scottish farmers and crofters took time away from their farms to impress on Scottish politicians the importance of farming to the rural economy and the people of Scotland.”