As harvest kicks into full flow, many Scottish farmers are looking for further clarity on greening before autumn sowing starts.
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead has announced that the basic greening measures will be applied next year. Greening is a new environmental element of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which comes into effect on January 1, 2015, and accounts for almost a third of direct farm funding.
To give farmers certainty about what they are required to do next year, Mr Lochhead has agreed with industry to proceed with Europe’s default greening measures in 2015. This is because, just days before a crucial EU deadline, Europe has not approved the Scottish Governments’ proposals for alternative measures which better suit Scottish circumstances.
Mr Lochhead said:
“I made clear in my CAP announcement last month that whilst we had identified some positive measures for Scotland under the greening equivalence provisions, the timing of their introduction was dependent on a European approval process – a process which six weeks later is not in place.
“That means we do not have confirmation that our proposed equivalence measures – fertiliser plans and an alternative to the three crop rule – will be accepted by the EU. This is crucial if we are to avoid disallowance further down the line.
“With the EU’s legal deadline just days away and farmers and crofters across Scotland planning for next year’s operations, I have agreed with industry to proceed with Europe’s basic greening measures in 2015. We remain committed to the equivalence measures and will in due course seek European approval to implement them from 2016 onwards.
Further details on CAP can be found here: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Supporting-rural-Scotland-d82.aspx