Success for farming’s Big Debate

United Auctions mart at Stirling was packed
United Auctions mart at Stirling was packed

Hundreds of people packed out the United Auctions Mart in Stirling for NFU Scotland’s Big Debate this week.

Key politicians and campaingers from both the Yes campaign and Better Together took to the stage in what was a lively and informed debate.

Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead and Perthshire farmer Jim Fairlie, a member of the Farming for Yes group, all spoke on behalf of the Yes Scotland campaign.

Speaking on behalf of the Better Together campaign were Scottish Secretary of State Alistair Carmichael, Scottish MEP and chairman of the Rural Better Together campaign George Lyon MEP and Aberdeenshire farmer Peter Chapman, from the Rural Better Together group.

More than 400 packed the main ring, which included NFU Scotland members and stakeholders from across the industry.

Chaired by NFUS president Nigel Miller, each of the speakers was given time to have their say on why Scotland should stay as part of the United Kingdom or go independent. A debate surrounding the future for Scottish food and farming followed.

Questions were taken from the floor which covered a variety of topics, including currency, convergence, membership of the EU and renewables.

Mr Miller commented: “With six months to go until the independence referendum, our Big Debate was a very apt milestone in this journey.

“There was good discussions and debate from both sides with some difficult issues covered. Hopefully, this event gave not just our members but people from across the rural community a better understanding of the opportunities and risks of either independence or a continued union.

“Thank you to everyone who helped to make the event such a success, including the speakers, our members who came along and stakeholder groups. Also to United Auctions for hosting the event.”