Fresh debate on farming and land management support a welcome step forward

Press Release

Designing new support structures to enable a bright future for Scottish farming and land management are an immediate priority, Scottish Land & Estates (SLE) said today.
The rural business organisation has welcomed today’s debate at Holyrood, led by the Scottish Conservatives, on future agriculture policy.
Scottish Land & Estates reiterated its call, first contained in SLE’s policy paper ‘A new direction for Scottish land management’,  for the Common Agricultural Policy to be replaced with a new responsive and agile system of rural support that focuses on:

  • Increasing resilience
  • Long term and sustainable approach to land management
  • Embracing innovation
  • Contributing to Scottish Government’s climate change targets
  • Delivering public goods

David Johnstone, chairman of Scottish Land & Estates, said: “Replacing the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after more than 50 years in operation is a huge task and while the industry welcomes the shorter term the stability provided by the Scottish Government, we are pleased that politicians at Holyrood are starting to address the crucial question of our future policy and support. There are many challenges for Scottish farming, not least resilience and profitability, but we must also be ready to seize the positive opportunities for the sector that will come over the next decade and beyond.

“The debate addressed important questions around research, innovation, education and the next generation. Public support will undoubtedly still be required post-CAP but it needs to be more responsive for the 21st Century and we should challenge the view that land use should continue the way it has always been done. Scotland should be ambitious in what it wants its land to deliver for generations to come and now is the time for us to collectively decide how we can make this a reality.”

SLE added that it was looking forward to working with a Scottish Government convened group consisting of producer, consumer and environmental organisations to inform and recommend a new bespoke policy on farming and food production for Scotland.
The organisation also welcomed calls for frameworks to ensure Scottish agriculture had a level playing field with its UK counterparts, and again called for a move away from considering farming, forestry, conservation and moorland management as completely separate sectors rather than complementary land uses.