Lucy Sumsion, Senior Policy Advisor with Scottish Government reports on her recent appointment.

Scottish Government (SG) is committed to continuing to support Women in Agriculture (WIA) and deliver on several actions. My secondment from NFU Scotland to Scottish Government for 23 months is part of that delivery, which I feel very privileged to have been given the opportunity to do.

Following the publication of the report ‘Women in Farming and the Agriculture Sector’ in 2017, SG established the  Women in Agriculture (WIA) Taskforce. The Taskforce published its final report in November 2019. Since then SG have been working on delivering many of the recommendations made in the report. In the current Programme for Government SG have committed to ensure women living or working in Scottish agriculture will be empowered to develop their skills, access opportunities and realise their potential, creating equality of opportunity and prosperity, and supporting business innovation. SG have committed to double support to £600,000 per year over the course of this Parliament, to deliver practical solutions to improve the lives of women living and working in agriculture, including enabling women to build more resilient businesses. The following gives an update on some of the current initiatives:

Be Your Best Self – a fully funded personal development course available for women living or working in Scottish agriculture to be empowered and enabled to build confidence; explore new opportunities; gain support and build networks/connections with other women in the industry.

SkillSeeder App/website – Delivery of an accessible, easy to use platform for everyone to find all rural and land-based training on one site. Currently has over 5,000 courses already listed for rural Scotland for people of all ages and skills to access. Find out more

WIA Practical Training Fund – administered on behalf of SG by Lantra Scotland.  Provides 100% funding of £500 or more on a case by case basis, to fund a practical training course for women and girls 13+ living or working in Scottish agriculture. Women and girls can find the right training for their needs by searching on Skillseeder and applying through Lantra Scotland.

Leadership and Business Skills Courses – are being developed to enable Scottish women involved in agricultural businesses to get free access to the right training to enable them to upskill and for their businesses to become more resilient.

Rural Childcare Pilot –  The SG are continuing to support the  rural island childcare pilot being delivered by the Mull and Iona Community Trust, testing models for flexible and sustainable childcare services in rural, remote and island areas, and assessing support needs for women in agriculture.

If any NFU Scotland member would like to know more about the SG work on WIA please contact Lucy at

Women in Agriculture Quick Guide

Be Your Best Self aims to support women living or working in agriculture in Scotland to build their confidence, enhance their skills, and develop their leadership abilities. As the programme is fully funded by the Scottish Government it is FREE to attend. Training is made as accessible as possible and over the next two years, courses will be delivered both online and in-person. Applications are open. More details and the application form can be found here:  There are still places left contact:

The Women in Agriculture Practical Training Fund established by Scottish Government to support women in agriculture to increase skills, to progress their development, careers and business in Scottish agriculture beyond their current role. Eligible funded courses include: business skills; environmental and sustainability; health and safety; plants and animals; vehicles, machinery and equipment. Individual modules or units from full-time courses can be considered on a case by case basis, if they have a direct agricultural focus. Further information is available at

Women in the Rural Economy Training Fund to support women living or working in rural Scotland to increase their skills, to progress their development, careers and businesses in a range of industries including: agriculture, aquaculture, conservation, forestry, horticulture, land-based engineering and wildlife management etc. Provides 100% funding of £500 or more on a case by case basis, for a practical training course for women and girls 13+. You need to be already working in or studying in the sector, full-time or part-time, or keen to start work in this area. You also need to demonstrate how the course will support the development of your business or employment options. Find out more at

Women in Agriculture Scotland (WiAS) is a membership group that aims to support, inspire and develop women in Scottish agriculture to achieve their aspirations and create a more progressive, successful and inclusive industry. The group was constituted in January 2020 and are advocates of the promotion and progression of women in agriculture. Membership is free and is open to women, men, young old and everyone in between. Further information is available at

Women in Agriculture (FAS Scotland) have been running women in agriculture events since 2017, funded by the Scottish Government. The discussion groups and the Facebook group are open to all women working in Scottish agriculture, from those with daily involvement in a farm business, to those just starting out and interested in finding out more about farming. Not all women can attend our meetings for numerous reasons, this group is a place for you to further your knowledge and connect with other like-minded women.  The group is an open, inclusive space where there is no such thing as a daft question! For more information on discussion groups, visit  or email

NFU Scotland Women’s Network was launched in 2018. Aimed at women working in Scottish agriculture, but open to all, NFUS want to facilitate and encourage involvement from our members, to allow them to shape the direction and policy of the Union. We want to encourage women to attend all our NFUS meetings and get involved in the work of the Union. There is a dedicated NFUS Women’s Network Facebook page, for members to get involved and share their experiences and ideas.

Please get in touch directly if you wish to be more involved, have any bright ideas or to find our more; email