Back to SOCIAL/ECONOMIC/POLITICAL
Review: SAC OUTLOOK Conference:
"Benefiting from Change"
Murrayfield Stadium, 16th November 2004
Teviot Scientific, Cultybraggan Farm, Comrie,
Filed 23 Jan 05
Introduction: this SAC conference in perspective with other recent
conferences on rural Scotland held by other bodies.
Land-Care recently reviewed the Conference "Scotland's
Land" that was organised by and held at the Royal Society
of Edinburgh (RSE) on 30th September 2004 (1).
Land-Care is also currently reporting and commenting in a series
of articles on the conference held in Perth on 29th September 2004
which was organised by People Too and entitled " Who
governs rural Scotland?" (2).
The view was taken that the RSE conference was
excessively biased towards the interests of the conservationist
lobby with little regard for those who actually did the work in
maintaining rural Scotland and producing much of its food.
Although less prestigious than the RSE, the humble
People Too organisation managed to muster more delegates, even without
a large number having their fees paid by government or wealthy lobby
organisations. The content of the People Too conference acted as
a counter to the RSE establishment with keen and lively discussion.
People Too's concern is the role of unelected civil servants in
the Scottish Executive who may be too readily influenced by powerful
lobby groups or quangos (such as Scottish Natural Heritage) while
the concerns of those who both work and live in rural areas are
seldom heard (3, 4,
What has happened to SAC's reputation for science-based, rational
comment and advice?
It was hoped that the Scottish Agricultural College
(SAC) conference might have achieved a semblance of balance between
opposing views, but sadly that was not the case. Indeed one delegate
asked from the floor:
"How did it come about that 60% of the content of this
conference is related to organic farming?".
At least some in the audience were less than reassured
by the chairman of SAC, who stated
"just as things turned out".
But a clue to the likely explanation was revealed
when the chief executive of SAC was expressing his thanks to those
who had helped run the conference. Yes, the conference programme
had been organised by Professor David Atkinson - the recently retired
vice-chancellor of SAC but who allegedly continues to hold the brief
within the SAC to promote its organic farming division (7,
For a conference organised by the SAC with such
a generalised title as "Benefiting from change" and yet
have such a biased programme is inexcusable. This is especially
so when the SAC is heavily funded at the taxpayers' expense. There
is no science to justify that organic farming provides significant
benefit to human nutrition (9) and some
aspects of its environment credentials are also questioned (10,
11). In addition there are serious worries
over the welfare of livestock - such as cattle and sheep - farmed
under conditions stipulated by the organic movement through its
different factions (10, 11, 12,
13). According to the Soil Association there
has in fact been a 10% fall in the UK's total land organic land
area in the past year mainly due to the withdrawal of several large
hill farms reaching the end of their five-year organic aid scheme
payments. Around 55% of the UK's organically managed land is in
Scotland, with nearly 400,000 hectares across 683 farmers, equivalent
to nearly 7% of Scotland's agricultural land against 4% in the UK.
It could be the misleading promotional activities of the SAC as
exemplified by this conference have something to with this striking
difference between north and south of the border.
A further concern about this SAC conference is
just how independent is SAC in relation to the Scottish Environmental
and Rural Affairs Department (SEERAD). Or are they in effect just
an instrument of SEERAD under the guise of independence? The SAC
has been in serious financial difficulties (14)
and was only recently been baled out by a further £5million
from SEERAD to keep it financially viable. Furthermore SEERAD has
recently indicated that future funding is to be more closely related
to their policies rather than research projects initiated by the
organisations themselves (15).
Bear in mind also, that the profitable part of
SAC is not its academic activities, but the provision of advisory
services to farmers (and allegedly to any other business) on a commercial
basis. But as the advisory services are largely in relation to implementing
government policy, it is very unlikely that SAC is going to do anything
else other than promote government policies - whether or not they
are scientifically sound. It would appear therefore that SAC is
unlikely to undertake any significant critical assessment of government
policies. To do that would be to bite the hand that feeds it. The
SAC conference reflected that approach.
It appeared as though the instruction had gone
out to the speakers "to be positive" and "to be optimistic"
about the outlook for farming in Scotland. A further instruction
from the administration "to be supportive of organic farming"
also seemed to be the order of the day. Organic farming is one of
SAC's illogical promotions - illogical in terms of science but not
in terms of selling SEERAD political policy (16).
The delegates attending the SAC conference could
reasonably have expected a programme that reflected a better balance
towards realism, rather than a demonstration of politicial subservience.
Introductory address: Ross Finnie, MSP, Minister for Environment
and Rural Development
Mr Finnie described the reformed Common Agricultural
Policy (CAP) - with almost total decoupling from production in Scotland
- as a great opportunity for Scottish farmers. He claimed that success
would depend on farmers understanding their markets and adjusting
their business strategies accordingly. He exhorted farmers to be
more efficient to meet the challenges ahead of progressively declining
Minister for Rural Affairs and Environment, Scottish Parliament
Reading a prepared speech when opening the conference
photo ©Kimpton Graphics
But in reality it is facile to tell farmers to
get to know their markets better. They understand all too well that
the small group of giant supermarkets form 80% of their customer
base. The supermarkets show little interest in trading fairly with
farmers, being engaged in a price war between themselves for supremacy.
With regard to his exhortation for increased efficiency
amongst farmers, Mr Finnie tried to justify his case by quoting
the big differences between those farms that were in the top 25%
of profitability against those who were in the bottom 25%. But one
did wonder how these figures could be derived, given that no two
farms in Scotland seem to be sufficiently alike - due to differences
in terrain, etc - to allow any such comparison to be meaningful.
How did such a study, for example, take into account differing standards
of animal health and welfare. High standards are expensive, so it
is easier to be profitable if less investment goes into this area
at least in the short term. Also, a farm's accounting can be made
to look efficient if the farm invests minimally in environmental
matters, or indeed in maintenance. A farm's books can look much
better if the land was inherited rather than bought with substantial
interest payments to be paid to the bank.
Has the situation now come about when the prime
purpose of livestock farming in Scotland is to produce beef to the
commodity standards set by supermarkets? Unfortunately supermarkets
are not the places to go for quality beef, and the public are being
trained by the supermarkets to know little else other than what
is termed commodity. In this way the Scottish icon for producing
quality beef is being eroded and he, Mr Finnie, apparently does
not seem to care.
It is well recognised that UK farms are among
the most efficient - if not the most efficient - in Europe. Calling
for more efficiencies reminds me of the farmer in olden days who
thought he could train his horse to eat less. He was surprised when
it died, but for a time the economies were impressive.
Another reality check is the statistic reported
by Professor John Hillman, Director of the Scottish Crop Research
Institute at Invergowrie, Dundee, that the decline in profitability
of UK agriculture is the worst among all the EU countries (1).
For the past nine years banker Professor Duncan
Macrae, of LLoyds TSB, has carried out an annual survey of the farming
industry. This year's results that have just become available show
that with the new support system in place the number of farmers
who reckoned they will leave the industry within the next five years
is the highest ever at 30% (17).
John Kinnaird, President of NFU Scotland
In keeping with what turned out to be the apparent
mandate for this conference John Kinnaird was upbeat about decoupling
of farm subsidies from production. But it did not really make sense.
John Kinnaird, President of NFUS
Welcoming decoupling from production, but putting too much hope
supermarkets playing fair in their role as the farmer's main customer
photo ©Kimpton Graphics
His case - as far as livestock farming was concerned
- was that there had to be "fair trade" on the part of
the supermarkets. That is to say the supermarkets would have to
pay a price for farm products that exceeded the cost of production
on the farm. Otherwise the Single Farm Payment (SFP) that farmers
are to receive would simply be used to subsidise supermarkets.
For all the fine words from the supermarkets there
is little chance of this happening until such time as there is a
credible and competitive market for Scotland's farm produce. The
only realistic hope for that is when the export market eventually
France is our biggest potential export market.
But France so far has kept intact all its production subsidy schemes
while we in Scotland have disbanded ours, thereby putting Scottish
farmers at a serious disadvantage in terms of production costs.
To highlight the problem of fair trade for Scottish
farmers, John Kinnaird commented on a recent visit by a delegation
from the NFUS to the Scottish Parliament. The coffee provided proudly
carried a "Fair Trade" label, but not the milk to go with
Long established SEERAD economist and head of
SEERAD's agricultural policy, Jim Wildgoose spelt out the evolving
- but still not complete - rules as to how things are supposed to
work as from 1st January 2005. This of course included the consequences
of EU enlargement.
Jim Wildgoose, SEERAD Economist
Describing the rules as presently known
photo ©Kimpton Graphics
It was clear that farm subsidies, irrespective
of how they are directed in terms of production or environment,
are going to progressively decline. In addition there seems to be
no doubt that the Scottish Executive is intent on using Common Agricultural
Policy (CAP) funding to support their own rural policy initiatives
that have little to do with farming. But Jim Wildgoose, being a
loyal civil servant, did not say so in as many words. The hints
from a study of civil service speak just get progressively stronger.
A marathon round of EU talks is scheduled to begin
in June of this year when it is hoped that the new rural development
regulation is likely to be thrashed out. It will decide how much
money will be available for rural development and, crucially, the
level of compulsory modulation over and above national modulation
for the period from 2007 to 2013. SEERAD stress that this is money
that can come back to the farm if certain environmental or rural
development measures are met. But in reality according to the published
guidelines there are also plenty ways this money can be spent without
it reaching farms at all.
On top of that there is the bogeyman called "financial
discipline", whereby there would be an enforced reduction in
the single farm payments if there was a threat that the agricultural
spend of the EU budget might exceed the funds that the EU have allocated
to it. This spend is set to rise by no more that 1% per year and
is required to accommodate the 4 million new farmers since the enlargement
of the EU community in 2004. As a consequence it is anyone's guess
what the size of the single farm payments might be by 2010 - just
five years away - making it very difficult for farmers to plan the
long-term investment that is so important in maintaining quality
in farm production, or indeed in maintaining the farm at all.
The purpose of the talk given by Douglas Bell
of SAC Farm Business Services was to illustrate the impact of
the reformed CAP on a typical Scottish hill farm with cattle,
sheep and some arable. Although again delivered in an upbeat style
the underlying message was grim.
Douglas Bell, Farm Business Services,
Painted an overly optimistic scenario for the finances of a
typical Scottish Hill Farm following decoupling
photo ©Kimpton Graphics
One of the weaknesses of his theme was his description
of 2004 as being "quite a good year" for his hypothetical
hill farm. But in fact the earnings for husband, wife and son
were decidedly poor in relation to what virtually anyone else
in Scotland who had a modicum of skills would expect to earn while
working a 35 hour week and receiving numerous employment benefits.
Also he made assumptions that were likely to
be over-optimistic with regard to the euro exchange rate and what
price the farm might get for its finished cattle and sheep, or
indeed for its grain. The books were kept looking reasonable by
scratching around looking for "environmental" projects
that could attract subsidy and by laying off the son from employment
on the farm.
Although cheerfully presented, what he painted
was not in reality a happy economic picture.
Here was a lady of great initiative and drive
who had made a success at East Wood Farm, Wiltshire in finding
a niche market based on "organic" products (18).
She claimed that she did not always follow conventional advice
of business advisers.
There can be little doubt that Helen Browning
would succeed in any branch of business in which she was interested.
In terms of Jim Wildgoose's comments, she would surely come within
the top 5% of the UK's leading entrepreneurs. Presumably the message
the conference organisers wanted to get across was that the rest
of us human mortals should manage to do the same (and of course
to swallow the "organic" message).
Helen Browning, Eastbrook Farm, Wiltshire
Effectively established a brand for her (and her neighbours) organic
A lady with great initiative and drive who did not always follow
photo ©Kimpton Graphics
Esential components of her recipe for success
were "branding" of products and gaining the co-operation
of neighbouring farms. With the exception of the "organic"
link, it all made very good sense - apart that is from the massive
amount of work involved for what appeared to be not very remarkable
But the "organic" link could be a
serious fault line running through the whole venture. The public
may well come to realise the profound weaknesses inherent in the
"organic" movement. The "organic" movement
claims great percentage increases in their share of the market,
but it is to remembered that this is on a basis of only producing
some 2% of the food consumed in the UK. In the foreseeable future
it is possible that this percentage may fall rather then increase
as the gloss comes off the "organic" image.
So this could not be the answer to how the hill
farms in Scotland are going to survive the progressively severe
cuts in their subsidy funding - no matter how well they tried
to market their products or co-operate with each other, and no
matter what start-up funding the government might provide in the
short-term. As Dr Ruth Watkins has recently so clearly documented,
"organic" farming on less favoured land has serious
problems both in relation to animal welfare and the conservation
of the environment (10).
It is worth noting that the Scottish Executive's
efforts to promote Scottish products through Scottish Enterprise
and its "Scotland the Brand" was a conspicuous failure
(19). So why should individual farmers in the Scottish
hills be expected to succeed?
Over many years when compared to most of Scotland's
working population, Scottish farmers have had to have a remarkably
wide range of skills to survive. Is it really logical to expect
them to acquire even more skills in order for the nation to feed
itself cheaply and for the nation to have its land looked after
cheaply? This in the face of an increasingly obtrusive bureaucracy
dictating as to how the land is to be managed, and declining financial
Ceri Ritchie of the SAC Rural Business and Marketing
Group also encouraged farmers to improve their entrepreneurial
skills. She also encouraged them to make full use of modern information
technology available through their computers. But was she acting
in the role of a second-hand car saleswoman (or of a supermarket
promotion) selling government spin rather than that of a competent
professional adviser putting forward a balanced opinion?
Not a word was said in her talk about the technical
difficulties of operating quite sophisticated computer skills
in even modestly remote rural environments. Not a word that broadband
is currently not available in many rural areas within Scotland.
For example, my farm is only 54 miles from Edinburgh and even
less from Glasgow, and some 25 miles from Stirling or Perth; but
broadband is not even scheduled to be available until May 2005.
Fortunately I have backup from the company's business office in
Edinburgh, otherwise matters would be substantially more difficult.
If it is difficult enough where I am, the problems are likely
to be much worse in more remote rural areas.
Not a word was said about the difficulties of
rural housing. How can young people be attracted to rural areas
when house prices are grossly inflated by urban workers with their
high incomes wanting to take advantage of the rural idyl, but
largely at the rural worker's expense? But this would fit with
the urban elite and the rural serfs concept that I have heard
expressed by a well-known professor of rural economy, who himself
was well-established in the urban elite category.
Not a word about the concerns of parents with
young families or elderly relatives over the NHS24 scheme whereby
there or no local general practitioner services after hours. Instead
it is a nurse at the end of a telephone (when you can get through)
who takes a history, and who has been documented as allegedly
asking for the telephone to be put the baby's chest so that she
can listen to the breath sounds (20). Perhaps she would
have also liked to have listened to the distraught mother percussing
the baby's chest in order to make a clinical diagnosis of pneumonia.
All this when the upshot is a request that mother and baby make
their own way to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee some 50 miles away
in the middle of the night in midwinter (20) because an
ambulance would take too long and is mainly reserved for people
having heart attacks.
Not a word was said about the problems of rural
transport, when petrol prices are some 7-10% higher in rural areas
than in the cities - even if the rural worker could afford a car.
For example, my farm attempted to employ the services of a farmworker
who lived some 15 miles away but who did not have a car. The only
public transport available was the bus service and it only ran
on Tuesdays and Thursdays - and even then he couldn't get near
the farm until 10.00am at the earliest.
What was all this about a poor uptake of the
government subsidised Farm Business Development Scheme? Since
when was the SAC renowned for getting its own finances in order,
let alone telling someone else how to do it? The farmer is likely
to be told by such a business advisor (who may have little personal
experience of farming, or had previously given it up) to diversify,
to go "organic" in order to get tempting start-up grants,
to put together some environmental programme that probably makes
little sense, to find a niche market, to invest in providing tourist
accommodation that is already over subscribed, to diversify into
some other type of business or to get out.
Surely this cannot be the way forward for Scotland
to maintain its own food supply let alone achieve standards that
will compete internationally.
Problems with the Farm Business Development
Scheme were anticipated back in 2001 (21). It is ironic
that the audit of SAC's dire financial state by accountants Deloitte
and Touche recommended in 2003 that the SAC should not diversify
but concentrate on what it was good at (14).
Alan Stevenson clearly made a tidy income from
his professional accounting expertise on a national and international
scale in relation to businesses other than farming. Indeed he
will be able to continue at least part-time with his accounting
business while he itakes over running the farm that has been in
his family for some considerable period of time.
Alan Stevenson, Farmer. East
Returns to family farm after a successful career as an accountant
photo ©Kimpton Graphics
That is of course admirable - and
indeed a good number of years ago it could be said that I myself
did something similar although there was no farm within the family.
But the scene has changed radically with CAP reform whereby the
economics of farming are being seriously and deliberately downgraded
by the Scottish Executive through a policy which might superficially
appear well intended but which is seriously flawed.
Alan Stevenson described his ambitious
plans for his substantial farm in East Lothian, which one would
imagine has some of the best farming land in Scotland. But here
again this surely could not be the answer to Scotland's farming
industry where 85% of farming land is on less favoured ground.
Is Scotland's farming to be dependent on those who are successful
in other areas coming into the industry to supply the necessary
capital and personally subsidise its running costs through other
It would appear that he had not
fallen for "organic" spin.
Culfargie estates, of which Brian Kaye is estates
manager, is a massive estate. I visited it when it had an open
day last year to celebrate its recognition as a Linking Environment
and Farming (LEAF) demonstration farm, and when the guest of honour
was Lord Lindsay - Minister for Agricutlure, Food and the Environment
for Scotland between 1995 and 1997 and now president of RSPB Scotland
(and many other things).
Land-Care carried an article about LEAF when
it held a public meeting in St Andrews in March 2004, entitled
"What is environmentally friendly food production: the scientists'
The Culfargie Estates runs half of its farming
under "organic" rules and the other half under LEAF
rules - sort of hedging one's bets both ways.
Brian Kaye, Estates Manager,
Culfargie Estates, Perthshire.
Follows both Leaf and"organic" forms of farming.
Sees no market for spring barley and the appeal of "organic"
Concerned about difficulty in recruiting good staff.
photo ©Kimpton Graphics
What was good about Brian Kaye's talk at the
SAC conference was that he brought some realism into the meeting.
He recognised that the appeal of "organic" farming was
declining and he recognised that there was now great difficulty
in recruiting sufficiently skilled staff, or even staff that were
amenable to achieving such skills whatever the training facilities
Certainly Culfargie Estates had been making
much use of environmental schemes and the subsidies that went
with them. But there was something incongruous here.
The part of Culfargie Estates that the visitors
toured on the LEAF open day was near Balbeggie, some 15 miles
outside Perth. The overwhelming impression was that this was a
highly efficient, primarily arable part of this substantial farm.
Indeed a commendable powerhouse of Scottish arable farming. My
impression of Balbeggie is that it is one of the few remaining
villages that appears to depend on farming and to retain that
The part of the Culfargie Estates that we were
shown was not in an area that tourists were likely to frequent.
The area did not seem amenable to walkers either of the short
or long distance kind as there are already abundant areas in Perthshire
that are much more suited to that purpose. Why then was all this
money and effort going into environment conservation when hardly
anyone was going to see it? What is the purpose of having little
patches of special grasses to attract butterflies or skylarks
when there is hardly anyone about? The area was so vast that patches
of special tree planting looked a bit like putting a small postage
stamp on a size A1 envelope.
There was little time for discussion at the
LEAF open day at Culfargie but one questioner inquired as to the
calving arrangements in relation to the pastures devoted to encouraging
conservation type grasses. It transpired that the cattle took
second place even when it came to calving, and that the special
grasses did not seem to be doing all that well.
It was ironic that the visitng party were encouraged
to walk on the newly sprouting arable crop rather than on the
conservation type grasses at the edge of the field next to the
hedges, this being the exact opposite of what the SNH Scottish
Outdoor Access Code (SOAC) has to say. According to that code
the public has a right not only to walk on such conservation grasses
but to take their horses and their dogs on it as well, but to
keep off cereal crops - a sad example of how poorly the SOAC has
Somehow the priorities at Culfargie Estate seemed
to be wrong. Here was a first class arable farm with magnificent
facilities getting all mixed up in a range of environmental issues
that seemed to be of little relevance in that particular area.
By all means use as little fertiliser and pesticide as compatible
with good crop production, and let's have lots of hedge rows that
can provide shelter where livestock might be, but trying to convert
such a massive area into a conservation park would be so expensive
as to be unrealistic and for little purpose.
There are lots and lots of other places in Scotland
that would be much more amenable for biodiversity and conservation
activities, and where generations of farmers have in fact already
achieved environmental excellence on rougher ground. Scotland's
economy (nor Europe's for that matter) cannot afford such a luxury
as converting high grade arable land into an environmental theme
park. Scotland has little enough good arable land and Scotland
does need high quality food production.
My guess is that Culfargie Estates may well
come out of "organic" farming and stay with the more
logical LEAF organisation: provided the government's illogical
subsidy system will make such a change economically viable. If
the grant system favoured neither "organic" or LEAF
farming, I guess this superb farm would simply get on with producing
excellent quality food by conventional methods based on sound
Carey Coombs, an "organic" hill farmer
extolled the supposed virtues and economies of this mode of farming.
I understood him to claim that adding minerals to soil or feed
was not necessary and that breeds of livestock should be chosen
that could resist such deficiencies, but did not reveal how this
could be achieved.
Carey Coombs, Tenant Farmer.
Weston Farm, Lanarkshire
Yet another organic farmer, although organic output accounts
for only 2% of food production in Scotland.
photo ©Kimpton Graphics
Presumably the recipe is low livestock density
- so low that it can hardly be economically sustainable in the
absence of preferential "organic" farming grants. Clearly
he is being business efficient in terms of using the available
business opportunities in order for his farming enterprise to
survive. The problem is that the business opportunities dictated
by the government don't make much sense.
As recently emphasised by Dr Ruth Watkins, whose
hill farm in Wales presumably has a similar type of terrain and
climate, there are major concerns about the standard of animal
welfare under "organic" farming schemes (10).
"Organic" farming may well be a recipe for staying in
farming in the short-term (16), but is likely to lead to
a decline in the quality of livestock if applied too widely and
for too long. It would appear to be in direct conflict with another
scheme much promoted by government aimed at improving animal health
and welfare (23).
One of the issues briefly discussed was the
change in the rules that now exist in Scotland regarding farm
tenancies. The discussion was brief as there was an apparently
unanimous view that the new legislation was a disaster, making
tenancy agreements much more difficult. As a result there is a
serious risk of a lot less land being made available for tenants
in the future: and that does not help anybody.
Here then was a conference characterised by
conflicting messages and organised in a seriously imbalanced and
misleading manner by people who really should have known better.
The messages were conflicting essentially because
the politicians were pursuing what appeared to be a well-meaning
but illogical course, while the farmers were trying their best
to keep their heads above water by adapting as best they can to
potentially catastrophic changes in government policy. The shift
in the European Commission's agricultural policy (CAP) from food
production to environmental issues can have little or no beneficial
effect on climate change, food quality or even attracting tourists.
It is based on ill-conceived political ideology with little scientific
There were indeed problems with the CAP over
the years, but these arose from poor administration rather than
an inherent fault in the policy. The EC could simply not act fast
enough - or logically enough - to adapt an essentially good policy
to changing needs. In the attempt to meet this criticism the EC
has now allowed a greater degree of freedom for individual member
states to select what they want to do within a range of options,
but which still favour "green" issues to an inordinate
degree. The trouble for the UK - and for Scotland in particular
- is that its government (at Westminster and Holyrood) has opted
to be leaders in going down the wrong route.
The government's obsession with "organic"
farming - presumably to try and attract some votes away from the
"greens" - is not based on science or logic. Indeed
"organic" farming has been persuasively labelled as
Many who previously worked on the land have
become disillusioned and have left, taking their skills with them.
It would appear that government prefers to listen to academics
with little or no farming experience pursuing their own interests,
or to rich single-focus lobby groups pursuing theirs.
As for the SAC, they seem to follow whatever
direction from which they perceive the political wind to be blowing.
Thus they may be able to maintain their own financial viability,
and so avoid the fate of many farms which will be increasingly
faced with the option of giving up before it is too late.
In a conference called "Benefiting from
Change" it was remarkable that not once was reference made
to the warning expressed by the chief executive of one of Scotland's
leading farming co-operatives, Brian Pack of Aberdeen Northern
Marts Ltd (23):
"A return of production subsidies will
be needed to ensure food supply"
But then neither was there any
such reference made in the Royal Society of Edinburgh's conference
entitled "Scotland's Land", illustrating just how imbalanced
both these conferences were. Indeed, it brings one back to ask
the question posed at the People Too conference: "Who Rules
Far from benefiting from change,
the gap between "the urban elite" and "the rural
serfs" is set to widen. Shortly there may not be enough "rural
serfs" left to look after the livestock, the crops or even
the land itself. Only then may governments be forced to discard
their poorly conceived policies and once again rely on competent
1. Irvine, James (2004). Review.
"Scotland's land" Royal Society of Edinburgh conference,
30th September 2004
See SOCIAL/ECONOMIC/POLITICAL Homepage, filed 04 Oct 04,
Here to View
2. Irvine, James (2004). Review.
Part 1: Introduction. "Who rules rural Scotland?" People
Too conference, Perth. 29th October 2004,
See SOCIAL/ECONOMIC/POLITICAL Homepage, filed 08 Nov 04,
Here to View
3. Robertson, Liz (2004). "SNH
and the Island of Arran". A case study presented at "Who
rules rural Scotland?" People Too conference, Perth. 29th
See SOCIAL/ECONOMIC/POLITICAL Homepage, filed 19 Nov 04,
Here to View
4. Irvine, James (2004). Concerns
about the validity of statements on the condition of SSSIs in
Scotland made by members of Environment LINK. Review and comment
on a case study presented by Kirsty Macleod. "Who rules rural
Scotland", People Too conference, Perth. 29th Oct 2004.
See SOCIAL/ECONOMIC/POLITICAL Homepage, filed 17 Nov 04,
Here to View
5. Irvine, James (2004). Review
of paper given by Professor Ian Boyd "From science to policy
and management" given at "Who runs rural Scotland?"
People Too conference, Perth. 29th October 2004.
See SOCIAL/ECONOMIC/POLITICAL Homepage, filed 21 Nov 04,
Here to View
6. Irvine, James (2005). Lack
of logic or science is now the fashion, but is it a good idea?
Based on a paper given by John Stewart entitled "From voodoo
to windfarms: mumbo-jumbo rules" at "Who rules rural
Scotland?" People Too conference, Perth. 29th October 2004.
See SOCIAL/ECONOMIC/POLITICAL Homepage, filed 06 Jan 05,
Here to View
7. Irvine, James (2003). Review.
"Agriculture: the primary health service?". Soil Association
and SAC Conference, Paisley 26th May 2003. High in hype, but poor
See FOOD Homepage, filed 26 May 03, www.land-care.org.uk
Here to View
8. Irvine, James (2004). Recently
retired vice-principal of SAC reportedly talks more havers about
See SOCIAL/ECONOMIC/POLITICAL Homepage, filed 22 Sept 04,
Here to View
9. Editorial (2002). Food Standards
Agency does not provide support for organic farming.
See ENVIRONMENT Homepage, filed 14 Nov 02, www.land-care.org.uk
Here to View
10. Watkins, Ruth (2005). Proposal
for a new organic status for hill farmers and conservation farmers:
organic "B" introduction and problems with organic rules.
See SOCIAL/ECONOMIC/POLITICAL Homepage, filed 19 Jan 05,
Here to View
11. Trewavas, A. (2001). Urban
myths of organic farming. Nature 410: 409-410.
12. Editorial (2002). "Organic
farmers will have to get real" says Professor McKellar.
See ENVIRONMENT Homepage, filed 23 Dec 02, www.land-care.org.uk
Here to View
13. Irvine, James (2003). Concern
over organic livestock animal health.
See ANIMAL HEALTH Homepage, filed 09 Jun 03, www.land-care.org.uk
Here to View
14. Irvine, James (2004). Shake
up at the Scottish Agricultural College: what is the present standing
of Scottish agriculture?
See SOCIAL/ECONOMIC/POLITICAL Homepage, filed 17 Mar 03,
Here to View
15. SEERAD (2005). Strategic
research for SEERAD: environment, biology and agriculture, 2005-2010.
Published January 2005 by Scottish Executive. ISBN: 0-7559-4293-0.
Available from Blackwell's Bookshop, 53 South Bridge, Edinburgh
EH1 1 YS
16. Editorial (2003). SEERAD
announces awards for organic aid scheme - but why do they do it?
See SOCIAL/ECONOMIC/POLITICAL Homepage, filed 14 Mar 03,
Here to View
17. Arbuckle, Andrew (2005).
Many farmers threatening to leave industry.
Courier, Thursday 20th January, 2005 p 14.
19. Fields, Julia (2004). Scotland
the brand votes of wind up.
Sunday Herald, 20 May 2004
20. Newport, Andrew and Boxer,
Caroline (2005). NHS 24 will end in death. Health workers slam
Leading article, Strathearn Herald, Friday 14 January, 2005; pp
1 and 12.
21. Irvine, James (2001). New
enterprises - new beginnings. Farmers workshop, Coupar Angus,
LandCare Scotland: Vol 1, pp45-50.
22. Irvine, James (2004). "What
is environmentally friendly food production: the scientists' view".
Public meeting LEAF Scotland, St Andrews 24 March 2004.
See ENVIRONMENT Homepage, filed 25 Mar 04, www.land-care.org.uk
Here to View
23. Irvine, james (2004). Animal
Health and Welfare Strategy for GB - launched 24 June 2004 - a
See ANIMAL HEALTH Homepage, filed 26 Jun 04, www.land-care.org.uk
Here to View
24. Irvine, James (2004). Leading
farm-owned cooperative warns that a U-turn on farm subsidies may
See SOCIAL/ECONOMIC/POLITICAL Homepage, filed 20 Sep 04,
Here to View