The Scottish Parliamentary elections have brought a ’new dynamic’ to Scottish politics for the five years ahead, according to NFU Scotland.
The vote saw Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP again secure a convincing victory, with 63 seats, although this was not quite enough to retain its overall majority.
Behind the Scottish Conservatives were the biggest winners with 31 seats putting them ahead of Scottish Labour, with 24 seats, the; Scottish Green Party with six and Scottish Lib Dems 5 seats, with just five.
NFUS president Allan Bowie said the election has fallen at ’an unprecedented time for Scottish farming’.
He said: "The sustained downturn in farm incomes across all sectors and the failures encountered when implementing a new agricultural support system means that farmers and crofters are justifiably asking how the Scottish Government plans to address our pressing issues.
“With agriculture, rural affairs, land reform, environment and food policy being devolved to the Scottish Parliament, there are key decisions to be taken by this new crop of MSPs which will be extremely significant for NFU Scotland members over the next five-year term.
He congratulated all new and returning MSPs on their election and said looked forward to continuing its ’strong and positive links with parliamentarians in the new term.
Ms Sturgeon is set to appoint her new Cabinet over the next few days, with Scottish farmers keen to see whether Richard Lochhead retains his Rural Affairs post.
Mr Bowie outlined the issues mapped in NFUS’ manifesto the union now wants to see progress on.
He said: “We want to see action that delivers a food chain which shares the risks and rewards and allows farmers and crofters to prosper.
"It is important that, at this time of uncertainty and volatility in the agricultural industry, we have strong voices within Scottish Government that represent Scottish farmers and crofters and look to build on a food and drink sector success that has yet to connect with the farm gate.
“And there is much unfinished business to be done in delivering outstanding support payments to all farmers before the payment window closes in June.
"As a Union, we will be looking for the new Government to provide a guarantee that there will not be the same debacle and any repeat of the IT delivery failings seen in 2015.
"A clear timetable for support payment delivery in the future must be set and adhered to and proper accountability needs to be established."