During a statement to Parliament, Mr Ewing announced that Scottish Association of Young Farmers (SAYF) has been awarded £20,000 to create a peer support network in rural communities to support Scotland’s young farmers. The funding will be used to:
- Complement existing careers advice for young people so that more choose subjects and courses at school and beyond that lead to careers in farming and food production
- Add value to existing activities which explain routes into working in farming and food production
- Provide mentoring and buddying for young people taking on or starting a farm
This funding is in addition to the nearly £10.5 million we have already committed to existing formal initiatives with organisations, such as the Royal Highland Educational Trust, LANTRA and Scotland’s Rural College to encourage more of our young people to see farming and food production as a rewarding career choice.
Mr Ewing said:
“Supporting and encouraging the next generation of farmers is a key priority to help build growth in our rural economy and create thriving communities. In my many conversations with people involved in farming and food production across Scotland, a recurrent theme is the need to encourage children and young people to recognise that a career in farming and food production is a good choice to make.
“I am therefore pleased to announce today additional funding of £20,000 to Scottish Association of Young Farmers to support them to create a peer support network so that young people can provide the sort of informal support directly to other young people that we know can make a positive difference.
“With the average age of our farmers now at 58, it is vital that we continue to explore all possible ways to encourage and support more of our young people to choose a career in farming and food production, to ensure that we can continue to drive forward Scotland’s rural economy.”
Sarah Allison, Chair, SAYFC said:
“SAYFC welcome this investment from the Scottish government in the future members of Scottish agriculture. It is testimony to the hard work of Sayfc staff and members who have worked hard to promote Sayfc as an organisation who can lead the way for young people starting out on the agricultural pathway and we look forward to working with Scottish government on implementing this project.”