Public support of Scottish farming is growing, according to research commissioned by the country's Government.

The research suggests that 83% of Scots believe that farming provides an 'essential public service' and 86% believe that the industry is 'critical' to the success of the Scottish economy.

The research also indicates widespread support for more food being grown and produced locally.

Welcoming the research in advance of the 2019 Royal Highland Show, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Farmers produce our food, they are the custodians of our countryside and are at the beating heart of our rural economy. So it is really pleasing to see the widespread recognition they are receiving.

The public are clear that they want to see more produce grown locally, as well as the protection of animal welfare and food standards – particularly if we leave the EU.

“The public also want greater emphasis on environmental protection and more jobs, opportunities and support for rural areas. These are all areas we and the farming industry are committed to maintaining as we seek to grow our rural economy.

“So, as we look to celebrate the success of Scottish farming and the wider rural economy at the Royal Highland Show, it is absolutely fantastic to see this level of support for our farmers and crofters.”

The study - 'Citizen’s Forums, and Attitudes to Agriculture, Environment and Rural Priorities' - was undertaken by Mark Diffley Consultancy and Research.