Down on the farm – MEP Alyn Smith to work on Borders Farm

19 July 2005
Scottish National Party MEP Alyn Smith is to spend a day working on a farm in Selkirk with NFU Regional Chairman Jim Hume as part of two weeks voluntary work experience.

The MEP will also be spending time on a fishing boat, in a distillery, at a blood bank and with the police as he works his way across Scotland.

Speaking from Brussels Mr Smith said

"I'm really looking forward to this. It may turn out to be a bit foolhardy, but you don't know till you try. Hopefully Jim can put up with me long enough to make it to the end of the day. It'll certainly be a change from sitting in meetings and parliamentary debates. I've never farmed before so I'm hoping to learn a lot of useful information to take back to the Parliament in Brussels.

Alyn will also meet with a group of Borders farmers backed by the NFU Scotland to discuss farming and the EU.

"This gives me an opportunity to both learn for myself about farming in the Borders and to speak to those directly affected by European changes to agricultural subsidies and environmental legislation. Scottish farmers do a good job of keeping their MEPs informed but I don't think you can beat getting your hands dirty to build a real understanding of the main issues."

Anna Davies of NFU Scotland who set up the work experience for Mr Smith said

"I believe that first-hand experience is the best way in which anyone can gain a deeper understanding of how farming in Scotland operates and of the day to day issues affecting farmers.

"I am therefore very pleased that Alyn will be visiting Jim Hume's farm and I know that Jim, and some of his local farming colleagues, will be keen to update Alyn on current issues and answer any questions that he may have. I also feel sure that they will be encouraging him to get his hands dirty and participate in the daily running of the farm!

"I firmly believe that Alyn will have both an informative and enjoyable day and I would encourage all parliamentarians to experience farming for themselves."

Alyn Smith MEP will be on the farm on Thursday 21st July.

Details of photo calls and media opportunities will follow. Mr Smith's work experience begins on the 18th July Schedule is as follows

Monday 18th - Scottish Blood Transfusion Service, Glasgow city centre

Tues 19th - Speyside distillery with Chivas Brothers Ltd, Keith

Wed 20th - filming with SMG on the set of Rebus, Govan

Thurs 21st - day on farm in Selkirk with NFU and special surgery for farming community

Fri 22nd - Nightshift (5pm - 3am) with A division, Lothian and Borders Police

Mon 25th + 26th - fishing trawler off Mallaig with the Mallaig and Northwest Fisherman's Association

Wed 27th - Shell Gas plant in Buchan