This week, The Scottish Farmer spoke to four inspiring newcomers to the farming industry who are embarking on their careers.

Agriculture often seems like a closed shop, reserved only for families who have been tilling the soil since Burns was a boy. However, our interviews show just how much the Scottish farming sector has to offer for young people searching a fulfilling life.

Many of these opportunities remain hidden from bright-eyed school leavers, who may be unaware of the vast array of careers available in agriculture. Fortunately, there is already significant effort in this area, with the Royal Highland Education Trust visiting schools throughout the year and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) supporting talks and providing meat vouchers for cooking classes with top-quality produce.

Plus we cannot forget the impact of our busy summer program of local shows where food and farming are at the forefront of discussion for thousands of smiling attendees.

The icing on the cake would be for more local authorities to reintroduce work experience into the curriculum, providing students with real-world experience.

Too many individuals end up in jobs that involve staring at screens, leaving them unfulfilled. In farming, there are more jobs with real purpose; after all, everyone relies on the agricultural sector three times a day—for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, not to mention the occasional fly-cup.

One of the best ways for people to gain experience in the industry is by assisting with lambing.

Hundreds of youngsters will be getting their first hands-on experience with livestock in the lambing sheds and fields right now. Another reason why a thriving sheep sector is vital for Scottish agriculture.

As the season progresses across the country, many farmers will be hopeful that the current record prices hold for the 2024 lamb crop.

Despite pessimistic predictions about the collapse of the sheep trade due to a lack of public interest and pushback on prices, demand remains strong, driven by a robust ethnic market. Like beef, lamb’s not-so-secret weapon is it's simply delicious.

Rising overheads and running costs mean that every penny from the price of a hogg is crucial to sustaining family farms, with money in farmers’ pockets quickly circulating back into the local economy.

Meanwhile, the local economy may be missing out on revenue as foreign shipments of grain arrive to meet the needs of Scotland’s flourishing distilling and brewing sectors. Cereal farmers, watching markets tumble week by week, are forgiven for grumbling about grain from abroad ending up in cans and bottles adorned with Saltires and tartan. This has long been a point of contention in the arable sector, but ultimately Scotch should mean Scotch.