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    NFU Scotland Elects New Crofting & Highlands & Islands Committee Chair 12/03/07

NFU Scotland elected its new Chairwoman and vice-Chairman at its Crofting and Highlands and Islands Committee meeting in Inverness on Wednesday 7 March.

  • Chairwoman - Jo Durno from Glenlivet
  • Vice-Chairman - Ronnie Campbell from Mull

The Committee covers all issues affecting NFUS members in the crofting and the Highlands and Islands areas, from animal transport to the Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme (LFASS).

High on the Committee’s agenda yesterday was the Crofters Cattle Quality Improvement Scheme (CCQIS), which has replaced the Bull Hire Scheme. NFU Scotland is keen to improve awareness among its members that the Bull Hire Scheme has not been stopped, but now operates under an interim scheme until the CCQIS is introduced.

NFU Scotland Vice-President, Stewart Wood, and Argyll and Islands Regional Manager, Lisa Webb, are going to meet the Scottish Executive next week to discuss how it plans to raise the Scheme’s profile.

Other items on yesterday’s agenda included the Scottish Parliament Committee of Inquiry into Crofting, Coastal and Marine National Parks and animal transport.

Jo Durno, new Chairman of NFU Scotland’s Crofting and Highlands and Islands Committee, said:

“I am delighted to be appointed Chair of this Committee. This is a significant time for producers in the area and it is important that we gather together members from across the Highlands and Islands to make sure that farmers’ and crofters’ voices are heard on such issues as animal transport, shipping and the future of LFASS.”

Lisa Webb, NFUS Argyll and Islands Regional Manager, said:

“The Union has had a number of successes for the area recently, particularly having secured the supplementary £40 million which has just been paid to Scotland’s LFA producers, meaning that the 2006 LFASS payments now total £101 million.

“However, there is still £61 million due under LFASS 2007 and the Committee and the Union will press to ensure these payments are issued before the end of the year.”

Notes:

Crofters Cattle Quality Improvement Scheme (CCQIS) is based on the principle of a 50% grant towards the hire or purchase of bulls, conditional on production of clear and measurable improvement proposals. The scheme is available to groups of crofters to improve the genetic quality of their cattle. The objective of the scheme is to encourage crofters to remain in livestock production and improve crofters' returns from livestock through genetic improvement.

The main features of the scheme are -

  • Bulls can be hired through the Crofters Commission's stud farm, which operates on a full cost recovery basis.
  • Bulls may be hired or purchased from elsewhere and still attract grant.
  • Groups must produce improvement proposals with measurable targets.
  • Annual payment for the preparation of cattle improvement proposals will be made, depending on the number of cows in the group.
  • Assistance towards the costs of training will be available for key members of the group.

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