A SURVEY released this week claimed that almost three-quarters (71.8%) of Scottish farmers want to remain within the United Kingdom.
The poll, which was carried out by the Suffolk-based National Farm Research Unit (NFRU) interviewed what it said was a representative sample of 2,497 farmers throughout the UK – 526 of whom were in Scotland – over the course of April, May and June to ask them if Scotland should leave the United Kingdom.
Farmers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, although not eligible to vote in the referendum, also took part in the survey and 63% wanted Scotland to remain part of the UK.
The NFRU said that the poll indicated that just 10% of Scottish farmers wanted Scotland to be an independent country, with 18% undecided about how to vote at the time the survey was carried out.
Jim Williams, of the National Farm Research Unit, said that even allowing for a 5% confidence interval in the data, the survey showed UK farmers – and Scottish ones in particular - wanted Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom.
Commenting on the findings, Perthshire farmer and founder-member of “Farming for Yes”, Jim Fairlie, refuted the conclusion, stating: “The figures quoted here in no way reflect the response that our campaign has received since the open debate held recently in Stirling.”
Mr Fairlie said the Yes campaign had gathered more than 500 signatures at the Highland show and added that feedback demonstrated that they were making significant inroads in persuading the farming community that Scotland would be better served as an independent nation.