NFU introduces first new branch in 80 years

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) Scotland is to launch a new branch to meet demand, for the first time since the 1930s. 

In response to the NFU Scotland’s crofting membership growing to over 750, the union will introduce a new Western Isles branch on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 to help give extra support.

Current and potential members are invited to an informal reception at 6pm at the Isle of Harris Distillery on the launch date.

“NFU Scotland is already doing sterling work on behalf of crofters, hill farmers and smallholders in Skye and Lochalsh,” said NFU Scotland secretary Jake Sayles, who will look after the new branch alongside Duncan Macintyre.

“With an established membership base in the Western Isles, the time is right to create a new branch to give those members greater representation and to encourage others to come and hear what the union can offer.

“Through our NFU Mutual offices in Portree and Stornoway, Duncan and I are already able to provide members with a high level of support and services, from crofting and hill farming policy to financial and insurance advice. We travel regularly throughout the area to meet our members, whenever and wherever we are needed, and we are delighted that, by launching the Western Isles branch, NFU Scotland’s network continues to grow.”

Sandy Murray, who chairs the union’s Crofting, Highlands and Islands Working Group, welcomes the development. “These are exciting and challenging times for crofting and, with our crofting membership increasing, it is great that NFU Scotland’s first new branch in more than 80 years reflects that.

“NFU Scotland is absolutely committed to creating a vibrant, crofting sector that is fit for the 21st century. In the past year alone, we have continued to campaign for simpler and updated crofting legislation and were instrumental in getting the Crofting Stakeholder Forum set up to take forward crofting matters.”

Murray said that common grazings are a “hot topic” and to meet this popularity, the union put on a workshop which it hopes to repeat if necessary.

“In other priorities, we also want to encourage new entrants into crofting, increase the availability of affordable housing and make sure that the range of support and financial incentives available to the crofting community are fit for purpose and their availability well communicated.

“Crofting remains at the core of so many communities across Scotland. NFU Scotland wants to keep it that way and I look forward to hearing from our Western Isles branch members in the future.”

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