Scottish Land & Estates has asked the Scottish Government to provide a definition of ‘Sporting Estates’ so rural businesses will know whether or not they will qualify for farm support.
In June last year, Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food & Environment, announced that he wanted to put Sporting Estates on the Negative List, thereby making them ineligible for direct farm support.
Scottish Land & Estates has made representations to the Scottish Government highlighting the need to clearly define what a sporting estate constitutes as there are many businesses where farming, forestry and sporting operations overlap.
David Johnstone, Chairman of Scottish Land & Estates said: “Scottish Land & Estates fully supports the drive to focus farm support on active farmers. We have repeatedly stated our support for minimum activity requirements because we want to see farm support, which is public money, supporting active farmers. But what we need are rules that actually focus on those that are not farming rather than definitions that inadvertently exclude legitimate farming businesses”.
Andrew Midgley, Head of Policy at Scottish Land & Estates, said: “While all farmers in Scotland get to grips with the new CAP there are many that remain uncertain about whether they will be judged to be a Sporting Estate and therefore ineligible. This is obviously a critical issue for these businesses, which need to know where they stand, so it would be helpful if the issue was resolved as quickly as possible.
“The initial definition envisaged for sporting estates was so broad that it was going to catch many legitimate farming businesses that had diversified. It was also going to catch many estates with small sporting operations but very big farming operations and wider business interests. Clarity will help the businesses affected.”