Union outlines a new agricultural policy for Scotland as it builds toward CHANGE

A year from the UK officially leaving the European Union, NFU Scotland has launched its latest policy document – ‘STEPS TO CHANGE: A New Agricultural Policy For Scotland’ at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.

With 365 days to go until Brexit Day – 29 March 2019 – the Union wants to use the UK’s departure from more than 45 years of support through the Common Agricultural Policy to overhaul and rebalance Scottish agriculture.

Moving out of the shadow of the CAP, the document outlines a bold approach to policy which will make Scottish agriculture productive, innovative and, above all, profitable, whilst delivering the wide range of public benefits that are increasingly expected of our farmers and crofters.

Copies of the new Policy document were hand delivered to key agricultural spokespeople at the Scottish Parliament including the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity Fergus Ewing; Peter Chapman MSP (Scottish Conservatives); Colin Smyth MSP (Scottish Labour) and Mike Rumbles MSP (Scottish LibDems).

Under NFU Scotland’s proposals, the three components of a new agricultural policy – financial stability, productivity and the environment – would work together to enable Scottish agriculture to be more competitive, resilient and profitable – forming the essential first link of a dynamic and fair food and drink supply chain whilst also providing essential public benefits.

Speaking at Holyrood on the 28 March, NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said: “These are the steps to CHANGE which NFU Scotland believes must be taken as the UK moves out of the shadow of the Common Agricultural Policy.
“During this period of huge change, the financial stability, productivity and environmental measures proposed by NFU Scotland would always work in harmony – but over time, the weighting of financial stability support must shift to productivity and environmental measures.
“Given the scale and nature of the changes ahead, farmers and crofters will need to be given the time and the tools to adapt and to become more resilient. That means enabling a transition, over several years, from the current CAP system of support to a new Scottish agricultural policy.
“That rate of transition should be dependent upon emerging trade deals and improvements in the food and drink supply chain. Better and stable market returns, then faster transition. Poorer or volatile market returns, then transition is paused.
“New and practical policy options would meet the needs of emerging and developing farm businesses, with an overarching objective running throughout to make all farms and crofts across Scotland more physically and financially robust.
“Financial stability will remain a vital component – particularly in the short-to-medium term – but rather than incentivising inertia, a new approach to financial stability would be built on agricultural activity, rather than the simple occupation of land.
“Efficient food production and the delivery of public benefits must be at the forefront of any new agricultural policy, so the financial stability component would be complemented by a suite of productivity and environmental measures which offer real, practical choices to every farm and croft.
“While still some way from the finished package, this policy document puts a significant amount of flesh on the bones and is driven by feedback we received from hundreds of members at our roadshows and events in the past year.
“We have put our cards on the table and are now seeking to engage with politicians and other key stakeholders.
“Scotland’s farmers and crofters are the bedrock of our rural economy and our booming food and drink sector is a jewel in Scotland’s economic prosperity.
“With 365 days to go until Brexit, decisions on the direction that Scottish agriculture will take in the years and decades ahead cannot be delayed any longer.” 


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