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16 Jan

Women in Scottish Agriculture

Smallholding Scotland Trustee Keesje Avis attended the “Women in Agriculture” event held at the Scottish Parliament on 10 January 2018. This event highlighted the work by the Task force set up last year co-chaired by Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity and Joyce Campbell, a crofter in North Sutherland.

A key resource to inform future policy and the work of the task force is the findings in the “Women in Farming and Agriculture Research Report” available here. Commissioned by Scottish Government in 2016 this research combined one-on-one interviews and a questionnaire that was completed by 1300 members of the Scottish agricultural community. The response far exceeded the 300 people hoped for indicating the subject’s importance, as well as providing a considerable remit for any policy changes.

One of the recommendations highlighted at the event is that agricultural organisations should have a minimum of a third of board members/trustees as women and Smallholding Scotland is happy to reflect this in their trustee membership. We hope to ensure this going forward. Further issues include inheritance and succession planning, available training, access to land for new entrants and the need for increased on farm safety. This is only a snippet of the research and findings so please have a read of the report and come back to us if you have any comments or suggestions of how Smallholding Scotland can respond to this very important issue and support an egalitarian rural Scotland.