Farming community welcomes John Swinney as new first minister of Scotland

The Scottish farming community warmly welcomed SNP leader John Swinney as the seventh first minister of Scotland. 

NFU Dcotland and Scottish farming community warmly welcomed SNP leader John Swinney as the seventh first minister of Scotland. 

Mr Swinney was confirmed in the role during a ceremony at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Wednesday 8th May.

The members of NFU Scotland have congratulated him and said that they look forward to working with him and his new Cabinet. 

The news comes just after Humza Yousaf announced his resignation at the end of April. 

MSP Yousaf was appointed Scotland’s first minister in March 2023, becoming the first ethnic minority leader of a devolved government and the first Muslim to lead a major UK party. 

Key priorities for farmers 

NFU Scotland has written to Mr Swinney, outlining the key priorities for farmers and crofters and what it believes is needed if we are to have a profitable and sustainable agricultural sector that underpins the future prosperity of Scotland.  

The union has also requested an opportunity to meet with the first minister. 

In its letter, NFU Scotland raises issues related to: 

  • Economic growth and the shared ambition to avoid a cliff edge for the sector.
  • The Agriculture and Rural Communities (Scotland) Bill.
  • Future multiannual funding and funding allocations.
  • The agricultural budget and return of funds.
  • Active farming and crofting and their role in delivering on biodiversity and climate change needs.
  • Future flood risk management.
  • National Park proposals.

At the heart of flourishing environments 

President of NFU Scotland, Martin Kennedy.

President of NFU Scotland, Martin Kennedy, said: “I congratulate John Swinney MSP on his appointment. He is a politician that NFU Scotland has worked well with both nationally and locally over many years. 

“The first minister, coming from a rural constituency, is well aware that agriculture underpins rural communities across Scotland and is at the heart of flourishing environments.  

“High-quality agricultural production is vital to the wider food and drink industry – a sector that is worth more than £16 billion to the Scottish economy, employs over 130,000 people, and supports Scotland’s national reputation on the world stage. “ 

Mr Kennedy added that to meet the full potential of the farming industry, the community needs to work closely with the new first minister, the new Cabinet, and the wider Scottish Government to ensure that necessary economic, environmental and social outcomes are delivered. 

Challenges and solutions 

The NFU Scotland president continued: “On becoming first minister, Mr Swinney underlined economic growth as a key focus. There is no doubt that the return on investment that agriculture delivers from government funding is impressive. 

John Swinney has been confirmed as the seventh first minister of Scotland.

“Our study of agricultural businesses across Scotland showed that £550 million in public support delivers £3.3 billion in Scottish agricultural output.  

“Thousands of supply chain businesses are supported by farms and crofts the length and breadth of Scotland, and high-quality agricultural production is fundamental to the wider food and drink industry. 

“However, our sector faces many challenges. We have set out some of these in our letter to the first minister, alongside solutions, which will help our sector to continue to contribute to the country’s economic growth.   

‘We also need Scottish Government to work with us as we seek to support and incentivise the next generation of Scotland’s farmers and crofters. We hope to discuss these issues in person with Mr Swinney in the near future.”

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