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Exciting opportunity secured for new entrants to Scottish tenant farming sector

A local couple have been chosen to take over a 366-acre farm, called Uppercleuch Farm, on the Applegirth Estate in Dumfries & Galloway. Stuart and Chloe Graham have taken occupancy through an agreement with Crown Estate Scotland, who manage the Estate, following a rigorous tendering process with a large number of high calibre applicants.

Uppercleuch Farm sits in a prime location, near Lockerbie, and became available for lease following the retirement of a long-standing tenant. Crown Estate Scotland, working with managing agents Savills, then placed the farm on the open market, inviting detailed submissions for a 10-year lease of the farm, with a hope of attracting applications from young or new entrants to tenant farming.

The Grahams impressed the selection panel (consisting of Crown Estate Scotland, Savills & an independent expert) with their forward thinking plans for the farm and the potential to diversify income over the coming years to adapt to the ever-changing face of Scotland’s farming sector.

These plans include opening the farm up for ‘public experience days’ to offer the public an insight into the workings of a successful livestock farm, and help promote education both of sustainable food production and ways to encourage more people into farming.

Fiona Simpson, Asset Manager for Crown Estate Scotland, said: “We had a number of excellent applications for this farm, but ultimately we felt that the Grahams would be an ideal fit, and that their exciting plans for the future could really help unlock Uppercleuch’s potential.

“We were also delighted to be able to offer this tenancy to a young couple as their first farm tenancy, as we seek to continue supporting Scotland’s tenant farming sector. We’re excited to work with the Graham’s in the years to come, and look forward to seeing how they can create new opportunities.”

Stuart Graham said: “To be chosen as tenants at Uppercleuch means the world to us. Over the past seven years we have built up stock numbers on rented and seasonal ground while actively looking for a tenancy such as this. It will be great to have all our stock in one place and grow a successful business from there. All the hard work and travelling around has paid off. 

“We feel incredibly lucky to be given this opportunity as they don’t come around very often, even more so with our first child on the way it’s a great place to be raising a family. Not coming from a farming family as such, it’s great that Crown Estate Scotland are giving new entrants and young farmers the chance to get a good foothold in the industry. We can’t wait to get started”. 

The selection is an indication of Crown Estate Scotland’s continuing commitment to the Scottish Government’s New Entrants to Farming initiative. You can find out more here.