HRH THE Prince of Wales has delivered a personal video message to Scotland’s young farmers, praising the work of the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs and the 'tenacity' of its members during the pandemic, as well as thanking them for their role as countryside custodians.

The Duke of Rothesay – as he is known in Scotland – applauded SAYFC for its long-established support for the agricultural sector in Scotland and highlighted the dedication of the network of local clubs across the country in supporting the wellbeing of rural communities.

He took the opportunity to encourage young farmers to play their part in the climate change challenges ahead, urging them to embrace regenerative farming practices and to continue boosting biodiversity through their ongoing land stewardship.

“You represent the future of the industry which keeps food on our plates, and which is the steward of so much of the priceless Scottish countryside,” said HRH Prince of Wales.

“Young blood and new ideas will be essential as we approach future challenges of farming which will require all your enthusiasm and insight. The most successful path for agriculture will be through its ability to tell a special story of high standards of environmental sensitivity, food quality and animal welfare, while emphasising local provenance and sustainable management. Underpinning this must be an enlightened approach to soil management, often referred to now as regenerative agriculture."

Commenting on the resilience of members demonstrated during the pandemic he said: “I’m immensely conscious of the role the network of local clubs played in the wellbeing of rural communities throughout Scotland, combatting rural isolation and the associated issues of mental wellbeing. The strength and social cohesion you foster are hugely important in the difficult times we are currently experiencing.

“The tenacity by which you have tackled these issues and huge dedication of your officials and volunteers has been so inspiring,” he continued. “All of these qualities will be needed as we cope not just with the aftermath of the pandemic but with the ongoing and immense challenge of climate change where, as farmers and land managers, you have a greater opportunities and greater responsibility than most in helping mitigate climate change, and to make a real difference in encouraging biodiversity as you work to shape a sustainable future for the unique country whose land you are the custodians. I can only wish you every possible success,” he concluded.

Newly elected chair of SAYFC, Katie Burns, welcomed the Prince of Wales' tribute: “We are all immensely grateful that HRH, The Prince of Wales, has taken time out to give us such a warm and personal message of support. His Royal Highness’s love of the north of Scotland and pedigree cattle and sheep is well known, and his knowledge of Scottish farming in general is evident in his message.

“It is especially heartening to hear his recognition of the importance of our young farmers movement. I think this video will be a proud watch, for any member of the SAYFC community past or present."

National SAYFC ‘Member of the Year’, Cara Gilbert, added: “The admiration shown by HRH for SAYFC’s charitable work certainly will strike a chord with members and supporters. His Royal Highness commends young farmers as representing the future of the industry which keeps food on plates and cherishes the wonderful Scottish countryside. It makes me very proud to be a member!”

The video is available for all club members and the public to view on YouTube here –