Industry issues debated at annual farming conference

The speakers and sponsors of the Farming Conference held in the Golf Hotel Carnoustie on Thursday. Pictured are, from left, back sponsors - David Adam RBS, Liz Barr Thorntons, Malcolm Taylor Bellingham and Keith Hopkins EQ Accountants: front - Tom Rwason BBC Farmer of the year finalist, Alan Stevenson chairman potato council, Angus Provost Helen Oswald, George Lyon MEP and Jim McLaren Quality Meat Scotland.
The speakers and sponsors of the Farming Conference held in the Golf Hotel Carnoustie on Thursday. Pictured are, from left, back sponsors - David Adam RBS, Liz Barr Thorntons, Malcolm Taylor Bellingham and Keith Hopkins EQ Accountants: front - Tom Rwason BBC Farmer of the year finalist, Alan Stevenson chairman potato council, Angus Provost Helen Oswald, George Lyon MEP and Jim McLaren Quality Meat Scotland.

The AGRICULTURAL industry gathered in Carnoustie on Thursday to discuss the major issues facing the sector.

‘Weathering the storm’ was the theme for the 10th annual Farming Scotland Conference, which took place at the Carnoustie Golf Hotel.

It attracted both farmers and those interested in the land and rural sector from across the country.

MEP George Lyon was the guest speaker at the conference after flying in from Brussels.

He spoke to delegates about his work at the European Parliament including the latest developments in the CAP Reform and the budget.

Mr Lyon also explained the massive uncertainty the sector is facing as the Scottish Independence vote looms.

He said: “If we become independent, the key issue is not will we get back into the EU but how long the negotiation will take and what happens in the interim?

“There are many unanswered questions.

“It’s clear to me that if Scotland joins the EU we will have to pay the price. It will be a full membership or nothing.”

The conference was opened by Angus Provost Helen Oswald and delegates also heard from chair of the Potato Council, Allan Stevenson; Jim McLaren, chair of Quality Meat Scotland; and BBC Young Farmer of the Year 2012 finalist, Tom Rawson.

A panel session and lunch was also included at the event.

The conference was sponsored by Thorntons Law Firm, EQ Accountants, Bell Ingram and Royal Bank of Scotland.

Liz Barr, head of the land and rural team at Thorntons, said: “The Farming Scotland Conference always provides an opportunity for like-minded individuals to meet and discuss the problems facing the agricultural industry.

“The speakers provided a fascinating insight into their role within the sector and the feedback from delegates has been extremely positive.”

While Keith Hopkins, partner at EQ Accountants, added: “Today marked the 10th anniversary of the Farming Scotland Conference and we are thrilled that it has been so well supported in 2013. We would like to thank all the speakers for attending and sharing their thoughts.”