NFU Scotland has called on Scottish Government to adopt a ‘can do’ attitude on implementing CAP Reform to ensure precious support funding is focussed on active farmers.

The Union has consistently argued that this CAP package must prioritise productive agriculture, livestock and activity. While that may add complexity, simple area based schemes that fail to make use of the flexibilities available will simply stack support payments on hectares, some of which may deliver very little to Scotland’s agricultural output.

The Union has demanded that delivery systems must be designed to ensure that those contributing to Scotland’s farming sector can benefit. With a limited budget, Scotland cannot afford to create a new generation of slipper farmers.

Its red line issues have consistently been:
• Prioritise activity-driven support
• A robust activity requirement and targeted support in the rough grazing region (RGR) that can deliver the equivalent of €30 per ewe
• An appropriate negative list of ineligible activities to eliminate slipper farming
• Arable and grassland payments equivalent to €240 per hectare
• Workable greening measures to safeguard arable production
• Eight percent coupled support to the beef sector
• A national reserve operating in 2015 for new entrants and developing businesses disadvantaged by the historic payment system
• Eligibility for future entitlements based on area farmed in 2013 to prevent rented land being taken back in hand between now and 2015
• A managed transition period to operate between 2015 and 2019 for existing businesses
• Rural development measures that complement and support agricultural activity

NFU Scotland President Nigel Miller said:

“Scotland is nearing the deadline for designing its CAP delivery schemes and the time has come for cool heads and tough decisions that will underpin the rural economy. Given all that is at stake, we need a ‘can do’ attitude from Scottish Government to get this sorted. The red line issues identified at an early stage in this process by NFU Scotland need to be grasped and addressed.

“Securing family farming businesses underpins Scotland’s ability not only to produce but manage our land resource. A clear focus on activity can give all sectors the capacity to respond to a world that increasingly needs food.