FIRST Minister Alex Salmond has hailed the continued success of one of Scotland's regional shows in supporting the rural economy.
SMALL Scottish businesses are stepping up their protests against the removal of dedicated relationship managers from Bank of Scotland branches by owner Lloyds Banking Group.
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CHANGES at a missile testing range in the Western Isles could cost more jobs than previously thought, campaigners said today.
I REGARD Saturday as the one day when all thoughts of work can be banished and attention focused on the sporting world. However, that was not the case last Saturday when duty called at the annual conference of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers in Edinburgh. It was a well-organised event that provoked much food for thought.
SPRING is the perpetual season of renewal in the countryside which is invariably epitomised by young lambs gambolling around the fields and on the hills in the sunshine. Initial reports suggest that there will be a better than average crop of lambs in Scotland this year and that shepherds and farmers have enjoyed a slightly less demanding few weeks as a result of favourable weather conditions.
The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS), now in its 225th year, yesterday reported a record turnover of £6.18 million in the year to 30 November, 2008 – up by 9 per cent on the previous year's £5.65 million.
THE Scottish Government was last night pondering the problem of two illegal immigrants – not humans, but a pair of cows from the Netherlands whose papers are not in order.
THE National Beef Association yesterday claimed that processors in Northern Ireland were driving down prices throughout Great Britain by importing live cattle from the Republic of Ireland for subsequent shipment to all the leading English markets.
THERE was more depressing news yesterday for Scotland's rapidly diminishing band of dairy farmers with the announcement that Arla Foods is to cut its ex-farm price by 1p per litre from the start of May.
OVER the year many books have been penned relating to agriculture and rural Scotland. One of the best remains John R Allan's Farmer's Boy, which recounts life on the farm in Aberdeenshire before the two world wars changed the complexion of the industry forever.
CONSUMERS throughout the UK in 2008 spent about £80 billion on food and drink: that figure looks set to be even higher in the current year, with the food price inflation running at well over 10 per cent.
CARR'S Milling Industries, the Carlisle-based animal feed group with a string of Scottish operations, yesterday warned of a blow to full-year profits from lower fertiliser sales.
AGRICULTURAL land and sporting estates remain a safe investment at a time when the value of residential and commercial property has taken a severe hit.
NEXT Monday's meeting of the EU's agricultural committee shows all the signs of being the crunch occasion for a decision on whether every single sheep in Europe will have to be electronically identified as from the end of this year.
MULTIPLE retailers are mixing large volumes of discounted beef from the Republic of Ireland with more expensive beef produced within the UK, the National Beef Association revealed yesterday.
OVER the past two years the Scottish Government has pledged it support for agriculture and the rural sector – however, it now appears that the cash is becoming increasingly short and there will have to be a "rationalisation of priorities".
Speaking yesterday from his office in Inverness, Andrew Hamilton, of estate agents Strutt & Parker, said: "In 2008 the CAP, which covers 27 countries in the EU, cost 54 billion. There was a time when this might have been considered as a large amount of money, but given the losses sustained by some companies and banks within the last year, this figure looks vaguely manageable and even reasonable."
SCOTTISH consumers may be moving from steaks to ever-increasing quantities of mince, but their Italian counterparts show no indication of forsaking quality foods, according to a recent study by the independent Boston Consulting Group.
A SCOTTISH charity is set to open Britain's most remote chocolate factory – in the unlikely setting of the Outer Hebrides.
DESPITE the chilly weather, the collective blood pressure of Border farmers was at a high level around the sale ring at St Boswells in the wake of the news that two farmers in Northumberland who operate close to the Border are planning to import pedigree cattle from Belgium – a country which has had a high incidence of bluetongue disease in the last two years.