AFTER LAUNCHING at AgriScot in November, both NFU Scotland's Joint Venture Hub and Family Membership initiatives have seen 'significant uptake' and interest from members.

The Joint Venture Hub was launched – in partnership with SAC Consulting, Savills, Shepherd and Wedderburn, Gillespie MacAndrew, Brodies LLP and Johnston Carmichael – to help farmers who are interested in share and contract farming and tenancies to collaborate and open up opportunities for their businesses.

Since its launch, the Hub has had 'positive interest', said the union, with 12 individuals already signing up and some initial discussions already begun. One member has already used the discounted rates on the consultancy services provided by the Hub’s partners to formalise an agreement with a young shepherd.

Commenting on this early success, union president Andrew McCornick said: “There is a real desire from those involved in Scottish agriculture to see young people entering and staying in the industry with thriving businesses.

“The platform of the Joint Venture Hub allows anyone who is interested in developing their business access to the information and professional advice that is necessary to create mutual beneficial collaborations. I would highly recommend anyone who is looking to develop their farm business or anyone who is looking to reduce their day to day role on the farm, to use the Hub service on our website.”

Meanwhile, the union's Family Membership, which allows existing subscription paying members to add their family members to the record and allow all added parties to receive a range of communication, invites to events and to take advantage of the union's discounts and services, has been inundated with applications, with hundreds being added already. With membership renewals now hitting the doorsteps, it seems likely there will be a lot more in the New Year.

Mr McCornick commented: “The NFU Scotland Family Membership is great way to acknowledge and reward the often-unsung heroes of family businesses as well as to get more active farming members involved with the union.

“Too often I hear members that don’t want to go to meetings because they think they aren’t the paying member, so they aren’t entitled to go. If you are actively farming and the farm pays for the membership you are entitled not only to the benefits, like discounts and services, but to go to meetings and to have your voice heard," he stressed.