New head of policy joins Scottish Land & Estates

Scottish Land & Estates, the rural business organisation, has appointed a new head of policy.

Stephen Young joins SLE from the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS), where he was project manager.

In his new role, Stephen will be responsible for managing SLE’s policy team at its Musselburgh HQ, as well as leading development of SLE’s policy positions and guiding the provision of member advice.

Stephen studied rural business management at Aberdeen University and went on to work in an assistant manager’s role at the Borders Machinery Ring, dealing with member requests and purchasing farm inputs on their behalf.

From there, Stephen joined SAOS, the umbrella body for agricultural co-ops in Scotland, where he was tasked with providing co-operative solutions for a wide range of industry issues as well as facilitating three monitor farms and benchmarking groups for farmers.

Stephen also acted as a key representative of the co-op industry, helping them to understand and deal with legislative issues.

Brought up on a dairy and arable farm in Kinross-shire, Stephen remains a partner in the family dairy farm. In 2018, he graduated with a master’s degree in management from St Mary’s University, Nova Scotia.

Stephen said: ‘Scotland’s land-based businesses are involved in a wide range of sectors and that leads to an extensive range of policy areas which greatly benefit from SLE’s input. I’m really pleased to be joining SLE at a crucial time for rural Scotland and I look forward to working with a great team who I know already do an excellent job representing SLE members to politicians and stakeholders.’

Sarah-Jane Laing, executive director at SLE, said: ‘The SLE team has been growing significantly over the last two years and we are delighted that Stephen is joining us to bring his experience and expertise to the organisation. There is no shortage of challenges on the horizon, and Stephen was the outstanding candidate to lead our policy team and ensure SLE continues to be an effective policy advocate for rural business.’

Scottish Land & Estates is a membership organisation for landowners, rural businesses and rural professionals.

Scottish Land & Estates promotes the wide range of benefits land-based businesses provide: the tourist attractions, leisure facilities and landscapes enjoyed by the public, as well as housing, employment, tourism, enterprise and farming opportunities.

For more information, visit