Post-Brexit agriculture announcement welcomedPress Release
The latest update on the shape of post-Brexit subsidy support for Scotland’s agricultural sector is welcome, but further clarity is needed soon from the Scottish Government, says a leading membership organisation for rural businesses.
Scottish Land & Estates (SLE), whose diverse membership includes farmers, land managers, and rural professionals says the announcement is a “step forward”, but that much more information is needed to ensure that land managers can effectively plan for the longer term.
The first track of the National Test Programme (NTP), ‘Preparing for Sustainable Farming’, will go live on Friday 29 April with the publication of Guidance for agricultural businesses. The National Test Programme builds on the work of the Farmer Led Groups and of the Agriculture Reform Implementation Oversight Board (ARIOB) in the journey towards CAP replacement. The Track One announcement includes information designed to help farmers and land managers prepare their land to meet the conditions of future agriculture policy and support.
Commenting on the launch, SLE’s Agriculture and Climate Change Policy Adviser Paul Richardson said –
“We have regularly expressed our concerns directly to the Scottish Government that more clarity on post-CAP subsidy support is urgently needed to enable businesses to plan for the future and provide assurance on the future sustainability of agriculture in Scotland, so we welcome this announcement.
“Our farmer and land manager members are very proactive and keen to continue to be a part of the solution in addressing the challenges facing us on food production, climate change, and biodiversity. They frequently get in touch asking SLE for guidance on what they should be doing now to prepare for the future, and a lack of guidance has made answering that question difficult. This week’s announcement is therefore a positive development, and I encourage all our eligible members to take up the funding offer as soon as possible.
“We do however note that this is only a small first step, and it is disappointing that the ARIOB has not been able to provide more detail, more quickly on post-CAP policy development. The apparent lack of progress is creating significant uncertainty for Scotland’s farmers and land managers.”
Farmers, crofters and land managers now have access to new guidance on financial support for activity that will improve awareness of their climate performance. A payment of £500 will be available for farm businesses to carry out a carbon audit in the first instance, which will then give them access to funding for soil sampling and analysis on their Region 1 land.
Through Track 1, suckler beef producers will also receive access to YourHerdStats, a new online tool within the ScotEID system that will securely present herd management information and highlight opportunities for further improvement.
This will be delivered through the NTP which was announced in October 2021 and is supported by up to £51 million over the next three years. Further detail on Track 2 of the Programme will be issued in the coming months.