CABINET secretary Mairi Gougeon has pulled out of attending Scotland's Beef Event.

Former cabinet secretary Fergus Ewing MSP will now take her place at the event to be held at Dalswinton Estate on Tuesday, June 6.

Beef Event chairman Scott Henderson explained that Gougeon had confirmed her attendance in early March, but the Scottish Government contacted them last week to say she wouldn't be able to attend.

"The reason given was that Ms Gougeon will now be overseas," Henderson explained.

"We were then left looking for someone else, and Fergus Ewing was a popular cabinet secretary, so we asked him, and he was happy to be able to come."

Henderson continued: "We think that people will be interested in what Mr Ewing will have to say, so we're hoping he draws some people to our event."

The biannual event, which is returning after it was postponed due to Covid, will welcome an anticipated 3000 farmers from within the beef sector as well as more than 100 trade stands and 18 breed societies.

“2023 feels like a critical moment for the beef sector. We are on the one hand facing the issue of security of food supply, while also tackling the dual crisis of climate change and biodiversity loss," continued Henderson.

"On top of this the subsidy regime is due to change in 2026. There is a lot to discuss.”

One of the highlights of the day will be the Thought Leadership seminars, sponsored by Virgin Money.

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Head of agriculture at Virgin Money, Brian Richardson, said: “Agriculture and particularly the beef sector is needing to do a lot of thinking in order to understand how they are going to work towards reducing their carbon footprint. Virgin Money is delighted to be supporting the Thought Leadership programme at the event. It is through work like this that we will keep Scottish Beef positioned as a world leader.”

The Thought Leadership consists of three sessions. The first is Agricultural Support Beyond 2023 followed by Sustainable Farming in Theory and the final session will Sustainable Farming in Practice.

“The Thought Leadership programme has been developed to help farmers navigate the new world we find ourselves in. It takes time to alter a beef herd and it is critical we discuss the best practices in achieving a sustainable future for the sector,” continued Henderson.

“We are delighted with the Thought Leadership programme and pleased with the speakers who are coming to the event. It would have been helpful to have had the cabinet secretary at the event as we do need to work with Government in order to give farmers direction for the future.

“However, Fergus Ewing understands many of the challenges we are facing and we are very grateful to him for agreeing, at short notice, to open our farm visit to Dalswinton,” added Henderson.

More details of Scotland’s Beef Event at Dalswinton Estate and the Thought Leadership programme are available on the Scottish Beef Association website.