Government cuts support for Scotland’s young farmers

Like other groups affiliated to the Scottish Association of Young Farmers' Clubs, the Bute Junior Agricultural Club organises a varied programme of activities for members: this picture was taken at a BJAC stock judging competition at Largievrechtan farm in June 2014.
Like other groups affiliated to the Scottish Association of Young Farmers' Clubs, the Bute Junior Agricultural Club organises a varied programme of activities for members: this picture was taken at a BJAC stock judging competition at Largievrechtan farm in June 2014.

The Scottish Government has withdrawn financial support for the country’s largest rural youth organisation - the Scottish Association of Young Farmers’ Clubs.

The loss of the annual £66,000 grant will reduce the income of the SAYFC by 13 per cent.

The organisation has more than 3,500 members across Scotland, including those in the Bute Junior Agricultural Club, one of more than 80 clubs associated to the SAYFC.

Chief executive Penny Montgomerie said: “We are disappointed that the Scottish Government has taken this decision to no longer support SAYFC.

“The association offers a crucial network for many young people in rural Scotland as well as unique personal development opportunities. The association is currently growing from strength to strength with membership now higher than it has been since 1998.

“Looking to the future we are optimistic that although there are tough financial times ahead over the coming months we will continue to focus on ensuring we can develop member services, and have a relevant organisation that youth in rural Scotland want to be part of.”

Labour Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant said: “I will be writing to the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, Richard Lochhead, to ascertain the reason for the withdrawal of this funding and asking him if there are any other measures of support going to be made available.”