‘Scottish farming is at tipping point’

Milk and livestock producers, auctioneers, wholesalers and butchers have written a joint open letter to rural affairs cabinet secretary Richard Lochhead last week urging him to rethink CAP reform in Scotland.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 16th February 2014, 11:05 am
Rural Affairs Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead
Rural Affairs Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead

NFU Scotland president Nigel Miller and several other signatories met at the end of January and wrote the letter last Monday.

They say in the letter: “Both Pillar One and Pillar Two support budgets are at the bottom of the European league. Unless the Scottish Government prioritises production and targets money to active farm businesses, Scotland’s livestock sector will be pushed over the edge into significant decline.

“The future of Scottish farming is at a tipping point.”

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The government had to be “more aggressive in its commitment to active farming” they said.

The signatories also list various “action points”: focus available support only to active farmers on actively farmed land; split up the rough grazing to target support at units where grazing levels are more intense; prioritise managing the transition of existing businesses from historic to area-based payments; refocus limited rural development funds on measures that will achieve the most outcomes for Scotland and address the needs of ‘landless’ livestock keepers and back the principle that whoever is actively farming the land and taking financial risk will gain the support available.

“Your role as Cabinet Secretary is crucial over the last few days of this development process,” they say.