Anger from NFUS as new entrant grants are closed

Want to read more?

At the start of the pandemic in March we took the decision to make online access to our news free of charge by taking down our paywall. At a time where accurate information about Covid-19 was vital to our community, this was the right decision – even though it meant a drop in our income. In order to help safeguard the future of our journalism, the time has now come to reinstate our paywall, However, rest assured that access to all Covid related news will still remain free.

To access all other news will require a subscription, as it did pre-pandemic. The good news is that for the whole of December we will be running a special discounted offer to get 3 months access for the price of one month. Thank you for supporting us during this incredibly challenging time.

We value our content and access to our full site is only available with a  subscription. Your subscription entitles you to 7-day-a-week access to our website, plus a full digital copy of that week’s paper to read on your pc/mac or mobile device.  In addition, your subscription includes access to digital archive copies from 2006 onwards.

Just want to read one issue? No problem you can subscribe for just one week (or longer if you wish).

Already a subscriber?


Subscribe Now

NFU Scotland has written to the Scottish Government asking that it looks at the rules surrounding the definition of new entrants, following announcement that Young Farmers’ Start-Up and New Entrants’ Start-Up grants will not be re-opened to future applications.

Both the NFUS Next Generation working group and SAYFC’s Agri-Affairs Committee have expressed deep concerns as, under the existing interpretation and implementation of the rules surrounding the definition of new entrants, a significant number of genuine new farm businesses are being shut out of the National Reserve as well as the New Entrants’ Start-up grant and other capital schemes.

The interpretation of ‘new entrant’ eligibility criteria currently deems individuals as being ‘active’ for more than five years because of the previous years before they were properly established as businesses in their own right being counted.

It is NFU Scotland’s concern that many future farmers who already have valuable experience are being sidelined, while others of less experience who are eligible can more readily access support.

In the letter to rural affairs secretary Fergus Ewing, NFUS Next Generation chairman Mark Donald said: ‘The Scottish Government has often talked of the great importance of new entrants to agriculture in the past.

‘However, the recent news that due to budgetary constraints the Scottish Government would not re-open the Young Farmers’ Start-Up and New Entrants’ Start-Up grants for future applications is hugely disappointing.

‘Surely the levels of demand are indicative of a real enthusiasm from the next generation of Scotland’s farmers and crofters to get a foothold in the industry.

‘The demand for this funding was not unanticipated and in our letter to Mr Ewing we have asked for further discussion on the allocation of funds to these grant programmes as being undeniably necessary and have encouraged budget allocation within the Scottish Rural Development Programme to be reconsidered to ensure the continuity of these schemes.’