The resignation of Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon comes during a volatile time for farmers, the National Sheep Association (NSA) has said.

The organisation cited increased input costs, changes to farming policy and the anticipated roll out of future farming schemes as reasons for this.

As a result of this volatility, following Sturgeon’s resignation yesterday (Wednesday, February 15), the NSA said it is necessary to have a “united and stable government which isn’t distracted from its task and can embed food and farming policies that span beyond parliamentary terms”.

“NSA Scottish Region is again calling for protection and recognition of the hard-earned standards we are held to and champion them along with ensuring farmers are kept on the land and rewarded for the food they produce,” it added.

“Government must commit to understanding the Scottish industry across its varied departments and realise the value of Scotland as a food-producing nation and its contribution to our environment and unique landscape not to mention the rest of the nations which make up the UK.”

This belief echoes what the Scottish branch of the National Farmers’ Union (NFUS) said in its reaction to the resignation yesterday.

“These are uncertain times and farming, crofting and our food and drink sectors face many challenges if they are to remain essential cornerstones of Scotland’s rural economy and its manufacturing industry,” NFUS president Martin Kennedy said.

“That makes them key areas for any future First Minister to consider and once appointed; we look forward to meeting with them on behalf of farmers and crofters.”

The British Veterinary Association has also said it looks forward to working with Sturgeon’s successor to advance animal health and welfare standards in Scotland and, “more pressingly” it said, the passing of a new Agriculture Act.

Among those tipped to replace Sturgeon is Mairi McAllan, current Minister for Environment and Land Reform in the Scottish Agriculture and Rural Economy Directorate.

Sturgeon, Scotland’s longest-serving First Minister, will remain in officer until a successor is in place.