A SERIES of on-farm meetings ahead of COP26 has concluded with at least 150 local MSPs, MPs and councillors better informed about sustainable food production and Scottish agriculture.

Organised by NFU Scotland, Quality Meat Scotland and SAC Consulting, the farm visits were held in every parliamentary region of Scotland - Central, South of Scotland, Highlands and Islands, North East, Orkney & Shetland, West of Scotland, Lothian, and Mid Scotland and Fife. The nine events commenced on a farm near Airdrie, in North Lanarkshire on September 10 and concluded in Highland Perthshire on October 29, hosted by NFU Scotland president Martin Kennedy.

Read more: Farm visits shine a spotlight on Scotland's sustainable food production

All attendees met local farmers and saw first-hand what action they are taking to help to tackle climate change in the area and hear how, as a sector, agriculture will help the country achieve net zero.

Mr Kennedy said: “These fact-finding visits demonstrated to our politicians and councillors the many steps that farmers and crofters across all parts of Scotland are already taking to tackle climate change and enhance biodiversity.

“They witnessed the role of technology and carbon audits in reducing emissions and driving efficiency; the work being undertaken to improve soil health; the role of renewable energy generation and fuel innovation. They saw the creation of farm woodlands and wildlife corridors to enhance biodiversity and the introduction of clover into grasslands to reduce reliance on fertilisers.

Read more: Focus on foods of the future

“Huge strides are already being taken on Scottish farms and crofts to drive the country towards its net zero target. NFUS was delighted to work jointly with QMS and SAC Consulting on this initiative that showcased this work. We hope that those who took part in the visits will use their knowledge to inform and influence decisions that will impact agriculture and those living and working in rural Scotland.”

Director of Market Intelligence and External Affairs at QMS, Sarah Millar, said: “The pre-COP26 farm visits were aimed at giving our decision makers tangible examples of the great work that our farmers are doing every day to combat both the climate and nature emergencies. Food and farming production is a key sector of our Scottish economy, and we look forward to cultivating new relationships and further demonstrating this great work over the coming months and years.”

SAC Consulting's Andrew Bauer added: “Scottish agriculture knows it needs to do more on climate change. Doing this whilst balancing all the other pressures is a real challenge, and one that requires trade-offs and help if it is to be achieved. These events have given politicians a very real sense of both the challenge, and the opportunities that can be unlocked if farmers are supported on this journey to net zero."

Read more: Focus on foods of the future