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NFU Scotland Votes Aberfeldy Farmer as President

Martin Kennedy, who runs his farm in Aberfeldy, is taking over as the president of the National Farmers Union of Scotland after standing as vice-president since 2017.

As part of taking on his new role, Mr Kennedy highlighted three key priorities in the years ahead for Scottish farming.

He said: “Obviously with so many things are at the top of the agenda from food production, climate change mitigation and the environment and biodiversity.

“All three seem to have an equal relevance at the top of the agenda and it’s about steering agriculture the correct way forward for addressing all three of these, because they all have equal priority depending what angle you’re looking from.

“And I think future agricultural policy will play a huge part in how we address these things, because if you look at one from its own silos it’s not the best advantage for the outcomes.

“But if we can take sort of holistic approach to all three, in terms of food production, climate change mitigation and biodiversity enchantment, right across Scotland.

“Yes, there’s challenges there, but I see them as absolute opportunities to really set Scotland on the map, to lead the way here for a global recognition of what we’re doing, and food production has to be the core of that.”

Mr Kennedy admits that there is a feeling of ‘a certain nervousness’ with the challenges ahead, but he’s enthusiastic to see these become opportunities for farming in Scotland.

From his own experience from the past year, he’s found that customers are becoming more conscious of local food supplies.

He explained: “Consumers are a lot more aware of food security, how it’s grown and where it comes from than we give them credit for, and it’s great to see that.

“And I think that sort of set the bar for people to maybe focus more on where their food is coming from.

“We’ve seen over the past number of months now, our butchers in Scotland, who we speak to every week, had a thirty to forty per cent increase over the festive period.

“And January and February’s been great months, and they’re seeing younger people coming into butcher shops now that there’s more food awareness, that’s so important.”

In the hopes of spreading this awareness further, and achieving his other two targets, Mr Kennedy wants to get Scottish farming onto the curriculum so that young people can have the opportunity to learn.

He wants to work with schools so that children can learn the value of where their food comes from and what role farming plays in the local environment.

Mr Kennedy said: “Food production, climate change will be at the top of the agenda for the foreseeable future and the environment and biodiversity needs to be up there as well.

“Because we know there’s implications on biodiversity that’s not clever just now, but we’re in a good position but we need to improve on it.

“So, with all these things at the top of the priority, agriculture’s going to be a key player when it comes to mitigating against climate change.

“That’s going to be at the top of the agenda, we’re more concerned about food, everybody’s concerned about the environment, why are we not talking about that in our schools today.

“It seems absolutely ridiculous that we’re not talking about that because it’s so important, we’re using and require food every single day in life.

“And the implications that food production has on the environment and climate change is massive, so why are we not talking about that seems to be completely wide of the mark.”

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