Scottish farm leaders have welcomed newly appointed Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, Mairi Gougeon, and paid tribute to her predecessor Fergus Ewing.
“We are emerging into a post-Cap (Common Agricultural Policy), post-Brexit, post-pandemic era where the Scottish Government has a unique opportunity to put the nation’s farming and food industries at the very heart of our green recovery and our response to addressing climate change and protecting biodiversity in Scotland,” said Mr Kennedy.
“On Scotland’s future agricultural policy, we look forward to working again with Mairi Gougeon as she sets up the integrated implementation board to drive forward the recent recommendations of the farmer-led climate change groups.”
He paid tribute to outgoing Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism, Fergus Ewing, and said the industry had held him in high regard.
“His [Fergus Ewing] decision to create farmer-led climate change groups to give farmers and crofters a clear say in setting their future roadmap to a sustainable and profitable future provides a legacy that we will look to our new Cabinet Secretary and her team to drive forward with a degree of urgency,” added Mr Kennedy.
Sarah-Jane Laing, chief executive of landowners’ body Scottish Land and Estates (SLE), also paid tribute to Mr Ewing.
She said: “On behalf of SLE I would like to extend our thanks to Fergus for his years of service to rural Scotland. No one can doubt his commitment to farming, rural business, sustainable rural development and reforestation, and it is right that we recognise his many achievements in post.”
Ms Laing also welcomed Ms Gougeon’s promotion and said: “We look forward to working together on a host of issues including the delivery of a long-term integrated land use policy.”