Around 170 acres of grassland became vacant this year due to various changes on Elderslie Estates and Galbraith were instructed to market the vacant land. Charlotte Maclean, of Galbraith, said:
We received 13 applications, from which we interviewed four very strong candidates. However, two candidates really stood out to due to their enthusiasm and passion for farming as well as the realistic payments they offered for the ground.
Archie Paterson and Allan Gordon were also both new entrants to farming, having come from agricultural backgrounds they had some solid experience under their belts, but each had recently established their own farming businesses and were seeking more ground to increase their stock numbers.
Whilst the Estate initially envisaged the ground going to one person, having received two such strong applications, it was easily split into two and approximately half the area offered to each successful applicant. The estate has invested heavily in improvements to fencing to facilitate the new agreements and Galbraith priced and oversaw this work on behalf of the Estate.
Archie Paterson, one of the new entrants on Elderslie Estates, added:
I'm delighted to have been offered this agreement with the Estate. I currently keep 600 sheep and hope to now be able to increase this significantly thanks to the additional 94 acres of land granted to me by the Estate. I'm local to the area, so this was the ideal location for me to expand my business into.
New entrants to farming provide Scotland with fresh talent, innovation and are vital for the future of the industry. Farming is a notoriously challenging sector to get into due to most businesses being family owned or run on a very small scale with expansion often being restricted by the scarcity of land becoming available. The unfortunate reality is that the number of Scottish farms occupied by people under the age of 40 has dropped to around 9%, an issue which Elderslie Estates seek to address.
Mark Crichton Maitland, owner of Elderslie Estates, commented:
We are delighted to be able to offer this opportunity to two young and enthusiastic farmers. Regardless of their being new entrants, they were the strongest contenders and this is why they have been given agreements over other more established local applicants. We very much look forward to working with both Archie and Alan over many more years to come.
My two sons, Nick and Archie, both in their late twenties, have recently joined me in establishing a new farming partnership, which has allowed the Estate to offer the ground to these new entrants. As such, I'm acutely aware of the importance of ensuring the younger generation are given the opportunity to be involved in business decision making from an early stage and am delighted that the Estate can help to be a part in building the careers of these two young farmers.