Sustainable farming announcement step in the right direction for Scottish agriculture

Press Release

Planned action to develop sustainable and regenerative farming in Scotland is positive for the sector, Scottish Land & Estates said today.

The rural business and land management organisation said it welcomed a degree of clarity provided by the Scottish Government’s statement on farming published today.

SLE said the National Test Programme, which is designed the enhance environmental awareness and knowledge in the sector whilst establishing improved tools to measure performance as part of future public support, is welcome but that greater precision will be required soon on what will be expected from farmers and land managers.

For a number of years now, perhaps best highlighted in our #Route2050 publication, we have been pressing for change so that farmers and land managers are able to plan and invest for their long-term futures, and we are pleased to see these calls being answered.

Paul Richardson, Policy Adviser (Agriculture & Climate Change) at Scottish Land & Estates said: “It is positive that the Scottish Government has announced further details of the National Test Programme as part of its plans for sustainable and regenerative farming.

“The sector was aware of the outline of the National Test Programme and we’re pleased that the programme will get underway soon using the twin track approach of enhanced knowledge exchange and improved tools of environmental measurement. This is broadly what SLE has been calling for but there will require to be additional detail announced soon, particularly on track 2, in order that farming businesses can take the measures required that will ensure their environmental performance develops ahead of a future public support package coming into force.

“The government’s announcement also acknowledges their commitment to supporting active farming and food production with direct payments whilst encouraging outcomes that restore nature, benefit our natural capital and promote the natural economy. This is to be welcomed, as is the recognition that government needs to do more with more urgency and to balance the needs of the whole industry.

“For many years, we have been pressing for the need for change so that farmers and land managers can plan and invest for the long-term. The recent announcement on the Agriculture Transformation Fund to invest in capital items to improve slurry management was also a step in the right direction and we hope this can be followed with news on the replacement for the Common Agricultural Policy soon.

“We look forward to working with the Scottish Government and other stakeholders as the Agricultural Bill takes shape in the coming months.”