The Scottish Government has guaranteed funding for practical farm research in 2017 and unveiled a package of new money for its land reform agenda.
Overall funding for land reform will be increased by £3.4 million, while the existing Scottish Land Fund budget, which supports communities in their bid to purchase land, will be maintained at £10 million.
The extra funding will support the introduction of new measures which are intended to create greater transparency around land ownership in Scotland.
Land Reform Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said the extra funding would include establishing the Scottish Land Commission which will open for business in April. It is expected to play a key role in reviewing policy and legislation and helping to influence future developments relating the ownership and use of Scotland’s land.
She said: “It also includes provision to develop arrangements for a Register of Controlling Interests, which will publish details about land ownership to promote greater transparency, and allow landowners to engage better with communities.”
Meanwhile Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing guaranteed the continuation of funding for research projects.The money is part of a £50million programme of research into the environment and agriculture which aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Scottish farming.
Mr Ewing described agriculture as the cornerstone of the rural economy and said identifying ways to help farmers and crofters improve efficiency was a key way to invest in the future of the industry.
“We fund a significant amount of research which can make a difference at a practical level,” he said.
“New tests for tickborne fever in sheep, improving potato resistance to late blight and helping farmers to select the best cows for milk production can all help make our crops and livestock healthier. That in turn can boost sustainability, productivity and profitability of farm businesses.
“We will continue to harness Scotland’s first class research abilities to support our farming industry and maximise the contribution it makes to our economy.”