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Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead back new Farmer’s Forum in the Cairngorms National Park

13th August 2009

A new group which will help farmers and land managers in the Cairngorms National Park has received backing from the Scottish Government at the Grantown Agricultural Show.

The Cairngorm Farmers’ Forum will enable members to discuss important issues such as Animal Health, Forestry and woodland plantations, Less Favoured Area Support Schemes (LFASS) and the Scotland Rural Development Programme to name but a few.

Richard Lochhead, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, attended the show and chatted to farmers about the new group.

He said: “The economic and social well-being of our rural communities depends on new and exciting ideas from those who live and work in them. This forum is a truly innovative scheme which will help farmers, estate factors and crofters in the Cairngorms National Park make the best possible decisions on important issues. I would urge everyone to get involved.”

There have been calls for a local farmers’ forum to be established for many years and now the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) has decided to set one up.

Its aim is to help the estimated 400 plus farmers, estate factors and crofters in the Park work together to their mutual benefit. They can all benefit from the Forum, whatever the size of the holding they work on.

Once the group has been formed it will be run by its members, but CNPA officers will be on hand to provide whatever help is required.

As well as holding meetings at locations across the Park four to six times a year, it is also hoped that Forum members will go on site visits in the Park and possibly travel abroad to see other farms in operation there.

By sharing and comparing their experiences, members will hopefully be able to improve their businesses. It is also hoped to focus on practical guidance and information.

Local farmer and CNPA board member Alastair MacLennan said: “This is something that farmers in the Cairngorms National Park have wanted for a while. I would urge all those with an interest to become part of this Forum – it’s a great opportunity to learn from others and help maintain a viable farming industry within the Cairngorms National Park.”

Flyers about the group are being distributed across the Park encouraging people to join. Anyone interested should contact Gordon McConachie on 01479 870574 or 07525 233710 or by emailing [email protected]