Rural Affairs and Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead will be among the guests at a celebration of the North-east’s rural industries.
Leading figures from farming, fishing, food and drink and rural tourism sectors are expected to attend the inaugural Aberdeenshire’s Future Harvest from Land and Sea summit at Haddo House on May 16.
The conference will highlight the strengths of the area’s rural industries, and examine the challenges they are facing, including European policy and reform.
Mr Lochhead said: “As a land of food and drink, with a wealth of fine ingredients on our doorstep, it’s not a surprise that many of our rural firms are food and drink-related, providing much-needed employment as well as an economic boost.
“This event is a great opportunity to promote our rural industries, and the people who make them great.”
Other speakers at the showcase will be Aberdeenshire Council leader Jim Gifford, Stephen Archer, the council’s director of infrastructure services, Peter Cook – P&L Cook and Partners, Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, Kate Mavor, chief executive of the National Trust for Scotland and Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of Scottish Fishermen’s Federation.
Aberdeenshire Provost Jill Webster will open the event. She said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the best of Aberdeenshire’s rural economy and the benefits it brings to the North-east.
“It will also be a chance to improve networking and generate discussion, and I hope the Aberdeenshire summit will become a firm fixture in the event calendar, exploring the issues facing all of our key industries.”
Council leader Jim Gifford said: “The conference is a chance for the council to collaborate with industry leaders to lessen constraints on growth and provide a boost for the rural economy.
“Pressing issues such as connectivity and European policy and reform will be up for discussion in the hope we can find a way forward to meet the challenges faced by some of Aberdeenshire’s key industries.”
Guests will be treated to a gourmet lunch cooked with food produced locally, showcasing the best of what Aberdeenshire’s food and drink industry has to offer.
Providers for the lunch include The Smokehouse (Methlick), Mitchells Dairy (Inverurie), TPS Fruit and Veg (Turriff), Davidson’s Butcher (Inverurie) and the Ythan Bakery (Ellon).
There will also be an opportunity for those attending the summit to tour Haddo Estate and see Haddo House, the micro-hydro scheme and three containerised wood fuel boilers.