Future single farm payment (SFP) entitlements must recognise the productive potential of the land to which they accrue. Payments must also reflect the public goods being delivered as a result of agricultural activity as part of a system of rolling, activity- driven support according to NFU Scotland.
The Union’s view has been expressed in its submission to the Scottish Government’s Inquiry into Future Support for Agriculture in Scotland, chaired by Brian Pack. The Union is about to embark on a series of nationwide meetings* to discuss future options with its members and has submitted its initial views in the meantime.
NFUS’s ideal scenario is an operating environment from which farm businesses can secure sufficient, stable returns from the market place without requiring a separate system of public expenditure through the CAP in order for businesses to be viable.
However, in the absence of that operating environment, NFUS firmly believes that some form of direct support will be vital to keep farm businesses going. This can be justified on the basis of paying for the range of “non market” environmental, social and food security benefits that flow from agricultural activity.
NFU Scotland President, Jim McLaren said:
“A new set of SFP rules will be put in place by Europe in 2013, for implementation in 2014. The future single farm payment scheme must sustain the capacity for quality agricultural production, and in so doing secure the public benefits that flow.”
“We believe that the debate over when to change our SFP regime must be informed by the process of defining the right regime in Scotland. We have two headline objectives. Firstly, to recognise the productive capacity of, and public good delivery from, land. Secondly, to secure a system of rolling, activity-driven support. We don’t believe that an appropriate scheme to meet those objectives can be devised under the current rules. So we need to think about how we push for changes in the rules in the run-up to 2013.”
“NFUS has considered a number of models for the future SFP and believes that work must be done to evaluate these models and the impact that each one would have on individual farm businesses and Scotland’s ability to maintain agricultural capacity. Scotland should then use the time available to influence the United Kingdom authorities and the European Union so that the rules that come out of the negotiations in 2013 permit us to operate a scheme that will maintain capacity for quality agricultural production.”
“The SRDP could be used to assist farm businesses to take informed decisions in order to adapt agricultural practices to support the Scottish Government’s targets on climate change at the same time as delivering a range of wider rural development benefits as a consequence.”
To find out what farmers and crofters want from their farm support system, NFU Scotland is holding a series of meetings to outline some drivers for change, and some options for the future. All members of the media are invited to attend any of the meetings listed below. The meeting dates and times are as follows:
Wed 11 Nov 7.30pm-9.30pm Urr Valley Hotel, Castle Douglas
Thurs 12 Nov 7.30pm-9.30pm Ayre Hotel, Kirkwall
Tues 17 Nov** 7.30pm-9.30pm The Western House Hotel, Ayr
Thurs 19 Nov 7.30pm-9.30pm The Garfield Hotel, Stepps
Friday 20 Nov 1.00pm-3.00pm Templars Hall, Tarbert
Tues 24 Nov 7.30pm-9.30pm Ring 2, Thainstone Mart
Wed 25 Nov 7.30pm-9.30pm The Lodge, Carfraemill
Thurs 26 Nov 7.30pm-9.30pm Dewars Centre, Perth
Friday 27 Nov 7.00pm-9.00pm Corran Halls, Oban
Wed 2 Dec 7.30pm-9.30pm Pentland Hotel, Thurso
Thurs 3 Dec 7.30pm-9.30pm Ramada Jarvis Hotel, Inverness
Wed 9 Dec 7.30pm-9.30pm Shetland Hotel, Lerwick
**In conjunction with Quality Meat Scotland’s winter meeting
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