Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

News Release

18th May 2016


And pays tribute to outgoing Cab Sec Richard Lochhead


The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association welcomes the appointment of Fergus Ewing as the new Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity and Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and Land Reform.  The two new cabinet secretaries take over the Rural Affairs portfolio previously held for the last 9 years by Richard Lochhead who resigned earlier from his position as Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment.

Commenting on the changes to the Holyrood Cabinet, STFA chairman Christopher Nicholson said: “After an unprecedented 9 years in the post of Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, today we learn of the resignation of Richard Lochhead. Of all ministerial posts, the rural affairs portfolio is one of the most complex and wide ranging including farming, fishing, forestry, land tenure, food and drink, and much more.

“Following his 9 years in office, Richard Lochhead will be remembered as a hard-working and committed Cabinet Secretary who was prepared to listen to all sides of an argument. He has built up great knowledge and understanding of subjects around farming and fishing, and his food and drink policy has been a runaway success. All these efforts have been largely forgotten over the last few months due to the furore over delays in making support payments to farmers, no doubt encouraged by politics in the run up to the Holyrood election.

“Under Richard Lochhead’s leadership, land reform has taken a great step forward as Scotland moves towards more modern and inclusive systems of land use and tenure. He has delivered welcome and far reaching improvements for tenant farmers through the Land Reform Act which has also introduced greater flexibility for landlords looking to let out land. With his commitment to food and farming in Scotland, many tenants would have been pleased to see him continue in his post, and STFA would like to thank him for his efforts and wish him and his family all the best for the future.

“However, there is still much work to be done to see the tenancy reform measures in the Act implemented, and STFA look forward to working with the new Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing over the coming months. We will be seeking an early meeting to discuss likely timetables for the implementation of the Land Reform Act, and to look at some of the measures that were omitted from the Act but could be addressed in the new Parliament. As a former member of the Rural Affairs Committee and Rural Affairs Spokesperson, Fergus Ewing has considerable previous experience of rural matters.

“With the inevitable overlaps between land reform and tenancy reform, STFA also look forward to working with Roseanna Cunningham following her appointment today as the new Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform. As a former Minister for the Environment, she also brings significant knowledge of rural affairs to the new Cabinet.