CABINET Secretary Fergus Ewing has revealed his plan to progress the work of the Suckler Beef Climate Group – and extend its conclusions to encompass a broader swathe of Scottish agriculture.

Action to take forward the SBCG's recommendations will be determined by a Programme Board, co-chaired by Mr Ewing himself and SBCG driving force Jim Walker CBE, with the first meeting scheduled for November 24, with a second meeting in early December and a remit to publish its action plan early in the New Year.

This Programme Board will also include farmers Claire Simonetta and Pat Lambert, as well as NFU Scotland chief executive Scott Walker, Andy McGowan from the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers and Neil Wilson from the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland, Tim Bailey of SAOS and Bob Yuill from ScotEID, as well as representatives from Nature Scot, SRUC, and QMS.

In parallel to this, a second farmer-led group is being established to provide information, advice and proposals to cut emissions and tackle climate change in the arable sector. This group will be chaired by Andrew Moir, former chair of AgriScot.

Mr Ewing said: “In this year’s Programme for Government, we committed to establishing these farmer-led groups to consider ways to tackle climate change, cut emissions and make key sectors in Scottish farming more sustainable. It’s clear that these groups are going to help government change farming and food production for the better. We now need to drive forward this work at pace.

“I am therefore delighted to be able to announce that Andrew Moir has agreed to chair the Arable Sector Climate Group building on the work of the Suckler Beef Group. His Group will be asked to identify measures which support the arable and cropping sectors to contribute to climate change targets. Andrew brings huge experience and knowledge to the role. He will relish the opportunity to work with colleagues in identifying practical solutions to achieve these very important goals. I look forward to seeing their outputs in due course.

“We’ve already seen a hugely positive response to the Suckler Beef Group report. Again, I want to thank Jim, Claire and all the members of the Suckler Beef Climate Group for their work on this. I look forward to getting on with the task of turning recommendations and ideas into actions through the newly established programme board. This is a very much an innovative group of people with a vast amount of experience between them and I can’t wait to see what we can collectively achieve. We know we have a big challenge ahead of us and very stretching targets to meet to cut emissions but I am determined that agriculture will play its part and move forward to a more sustainable future.”