NFU Scotland has impressed upon Europe's agricultural commissioner the need for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to continue to deliver for both farmers and consumers in the future.
NFU Scotland officeholders, its board of directors and staff were in Brussels this week on a study trip meeting with Commission officials, the Scottish MEPs and other UK unions. The highlight was a meeting with Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel to discuss the future of CAP post-2013.
Speaking after the meeting, NFU Scotland President Jim McLaren said;
"It is important that we are involved in the debate on the future shape of CAP at an early stage. This meeting with the commissioner and her commitment to visit Scotland next spring are making sure that our voice is being heard.
"It is important that we create a CAP that has clearly identified what consumers expect farmers to deliver and that support delivered on that basis retains a strong link to activity on the farm.
"We also repeated to the Commissioner our concerns that any redefinition of Less Favoured Areas (LFA) could impact on the way this lifeline payment is delivered to Scottish farmers. While recognising that this is a highly sensitive debate, we welcome her commitment to ensure that redefinition has a sound scientific base.
"Sound science is missing from the current debate on pesticides. It is reassuring that the Commissioner is alive to the impact that policies originating in other parts of the commission can have on her agricultural brief.
"Issues around plant protection products, animal transport and sheep electronic tagging sit with Commissioner Vassiliou. NFU Scotland has had difficulty in setting up a meeting with the Commissioner. In a separate meeting with Scottish MEPs, their offer of assistance to facilitate a meeting was welcome."
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