RESPONDING to the long-awaited CAP headline deal announcement this week, Head of Policy at Scottish Land & Estates – the industry body representing over 2,500 rural landowners in Scotland – Andrew Midgley, welcomed the news and noted new challenges will now emerge as individual member states seek to distribute their share of the funding:
“The announcement is a significant one in the long process of CAP reform and at last provides some welcome clarity on the detail of the framework within which farmers will operate over the coming years. It also allows us to turn our attention to implementing the support regime in Scotland.
“The signature aspect of the latest reform remains the introduction of greening measures associated with direct support. While some of the detail has been watered down, Scottish Land & Estates is in principle supportive of the move towards greening. We have long advocated that the CAP needs to be reformed to support food but also, and vitally, environmental security”.
During times of austerity a heavy onus lies with farmers and land managers to justify the continuation of funds from a pressured European budget. The move to put a greater emphasis on the delivery of public goods paves the way for further moves in this direction.
David Seed, Chairman of Scottish Land & Estates’ Primary Industries policy committee added:
“The headline deal announcement is welcome. Support delivered through the CAP is a lynchpin of Scottish agriculture and reform inevitably creates a hiatus in business planning and activity. We now need to move as quickly as we can to clarify how we will implement the support measures in Scotland so that farms and rural businesses can progress.
“One of the notable features of this reform is the amount of control given to member states over their allocated budget. In order to broker a deal between 27 member states and between the Commission, Council and Parliament, a huge amount of flexibility has been built in with each state able to make its own choices about how to implement the measures in detail. This sort of flexibility is welcome because it means that we can tailor the support regime to our needs, but it inevitably also creates a varied agricultural picture across the EU.
“Since this reform gives a significant degree of choice to the Scottish Government, Scottish Land & Estates will now focus on ensuring that the right choices are made for Scottish agriculture. Now that the direction of travel has been set we need to focus on the options that are available to us and to put in place a package that supports Scottish agriculture through what will be a challenging period as we move towards area payments”.