Tag Archives: agriculture

Parliamentarians meet local farming representatives

Iain Gray MSP and Martin Whitfield MP have met with local representatives of the National Farmers’ Union Scotland (NFUS) for any update on topical issues, including the potential implications of Brexit for farmers in East Lothian.

The county politicians met with Willie Thomson and Kelvin Pate at Wheatrig Farm. One of the matters discussed was Steps for Change, NFU Scotland’s discussion document on the need for a new agricultural policy for Scotland ahead of Brexit.

Speaking after the visit Iain Gray MSP said:

Farming remains a crucial part of East Lothian’s economy and I try and have regular meetings with local farmers’ representatives. NFU Scotland does a fantastic job representing farmers and standing up for rural interests and it was good to catch up with Willie and Kelvin.

This meeting was an opportunity to discuss a number of important factors which are set to affect farming here and across Scotland, not least the uncertainty around Brexit. The Steps for Change discussion document highlights a range of important issues NFUS feels are necessary for developing a bold Scottish agricultural policy for the future.”

Martin Whitfield MP said:

East Lothian’s agricultural sector is such an important part of the local economy and jobs. The sector currently faces many challenges, including adapting to life outside the European Union, and I was pleased to meet with Willie and Kelvin to talk about some of these issues.

Nearly two years on from the vote to exit the EU, many important questions remain unclear. NFUS has been proactive in ensuring the voice of farmers is heard and they are at the forefront of shaping the future of the agricultural sector. I will continue to listen to their concerns and speak up for the sector’s interests in parliament.”

Funding boost for ploughing championships in East Lothian

The first European Reversible Ploughing Championships to be held on Scottish soil is among 21 events across the country which are receiving backing from the latest round of awards from the EventScotland National Funding Programme, as part of VisitScotland’s work to deliver the national events strategy Scotland the Perfect Stage.

The European Reversible Ploughing Championships (19-20 October) and Scottish Ploughing Championships (22-23 October) both due to take place in East Lothian have been awarded £7,000 in total funding.

Ploughers from 13 countries will compete in the 33rd European Reversible Ploughing Championships at Saltcoats, Gullane – the first time the championships have been held in Scotland. Around 1000 visitors are expected to attend the spectacle involving countries including France, Germany, Russia, Switzerland and Scotland.

The 54th Scottish Ploughing Championships will take place at West Fenton, North Berwick, in front of an expected 2000-strong crowd. Alongside the competition ploughing there will be machinery stands, demonstrations by modern farm machinery as well as vintage machinery and a display of vintage tractors and stationary engines on site.

The ploughing championships and the other 20 forthcoming events across 13 of Scotland’s local authority areas have received a combined total of £232,700 from Round 32 of the National Funding Programme.

The National Funding Programme – which is administered by EventScotland, a team within VisitScotland’s Events Directorate – was established to enable the strategic development of events taking place outwith Edinburgh and Glasgow, with the aim of driving domestic tourism and increasing economic impact for local communities throughout Scotland.

Thanks to the funding, and in keeping with the objectives of the National Funding Programme, organisers will now be in a position to further develop by extending and enhancing its programme in order to increase attendance figures and improve the overall spectator experience.

John Tait, Chairman of the Scottish Ploughing Championships, said:

“The support from the EventScotland National Funding Programme has enabled us to promote the event to a wider audience than would otherwise have been possible.

“We are looking forward to welcoming ploughers and visitors from all over the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Europe and Russia to East Lothian to showcase the best in modern, vintage, classic and horse ploughing.

“The European event on the 19 & 20 October will be a great contest to select the Champion European Reversible plougher, followed by the 54th Scottish Ploughing Championships on 22 & 23 October with over 200 ploughers competing to be Scottish champions.”

Manuela Calchini, VisitScotland Regional Director, said:

“I’m delighted that the Scottish Ploughing Championships have been selected as funding recipients in the latest round of EventScotland’s National Funding Programme. I’m sure that the financial boost combined with the fantastic programme the organisers have planned will ensure they are a superb success.

“These funding awards for regional events provide invaluable support by helping them create an even more attractive proposition to attract increased attendance – not only from their local areas but also from much further afield. That promotes the venues as excellent visitor destinations and contributes greatly to the region’s economy – which is hugely important.”

Farmer Takes on 500 Mile Solo Tractor Journey for Charity

RSABI NC500An East Lothian farmer is going to tackle the North Coast 500 route in a unique way in order to support RSABI’s ‘Help us help them’ campaign. Instead of travelling by car or bicycle, he will be doing the whole thing in a tractor.

John Meikle, from Hoprig Mains, a family farming business, will be driving a brand new Massey Ferguson tractor supplied by Ancroft Tractors all the way around the North Coast of Scotland between the 13th and 15th of June.

Aiming to drive all the hours of daylight that the Northern Highlands will provide at this time of year, John has set himself the ambitious target of completing the journey within three days. He is hoping to complete the route, pulling in to the grounds of Inverness Castle, on the afternoon of Wednesday 15th June.

The North Coast 500 is an iconic route measuring just over 500 miles in the North Highlands. It is Scotland’s answer to Route 66, showcasing stunning rugged coastal scenery, castles, beaches and ruins. The clockwise route follows the main roads across the coastal edges of the North Highlands taking in villages and towns in places such as Ullapool, Durness, John O’Groats, and Dornoch.

This unique solo driving journey is being undertaken by 62 year-old John as he seeks to raise awareness and valuable funds for RSABI, Scotland’s charity that supports people who have worked in agriculture, crofting and other land based industries and who are now experiencing hardship. RSABI has strong roots in the North of Scotland where many rural people are currently experiencing hard times.

John had the following to say about his endeavour:

“I have spent many hours driving tractors for a living over the years, and I couldn’t resist this fantastic opportunity to support the RSABI ‘Help us help them’ campaign during such tough times for agriculture and crofting.”

He continued:

“The new route in the North Highlands is an inspiring one and I hope my wee challenge in this big red tractor will encourage many people to come forward and donate funds to such a worthwhile cause!”

Paul Tinson from RSABI added:

“We’re so grateful to John for going out of his way to raise much needed funds for RSABI and our ‘Help us help them’ campaign. Driving 500 miles in three days will be no picnic in a tractor and we hope as many people as possible will come forward and back his tremendous effort.”

You can donate to John’s North Coast 500 Tractor Drive for RSABI at www.virginmoneygiving.com/NC500RSABI and follow his progress on Twitter @RSABI and on Facebook during a few inspiring days in June.