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14 June 2005

STEVENSON QUESTIONS EXECUTIVE ON NEW ENTRANTS SCHEME FOR YOUNG FARMERS

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has questioned Scotland’s farms Minister Ross Finnie on the lack of a new entrants scheme to help Scottish young farmers.

Mr Stevenson was speaking after it emerged that the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland had launched such a scheme last week. The Northern Irish scheme supports the establishment of young farmers under 40 years of age by providing an interest subsidy on loans.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“This scheme must be very welcome indeed for the Northern Ireland agriculture industry and I am sure that it will be beneficial to farmers in Ulster.

“However, our own Scottish Executive Environment & Rural Affairs Department (SEERAD) advise that they have no such equivalent scheme here which would undoubtedly assist young farmers in Banff & Buchan who want to enter the industry.

“I know that there is support for such a scheme as it is a subject which is raised with me at the regular meetings I have with farmers and interest groups.

“I have therefore written to Ross Finnie on the matter seeking to know when young farmers in the North-east will have access to the same support as their counterparts in Northern Ireland.”
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