2015-06-10   facebooktwitterrss

Hogan Heading to the Highland

EU Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan is to visit the Royal Highland Show.

NFU Scotland will use the country’s biggest agricultural event to meet with Europe’s leading farm official to discuss his plans for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and his agenda for simplification.

Commissioner Phil Hogan

Commissioner Phil Hogan

The Royal Highland Show, which opens at Ingliston near Edinburgh on Thursday 18 June, will host a visit from EU Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan. It will be Mr Hogan’s first formal visit to the show since his appointment in November 2014. The Highland Show runs until Sunday 21 June.

While Mr Hogan will spend much of Thursday 18 June in the show field, NFU Scotland has invited the Commissioner to visit a traditional Scottish family farm on Friday 19 June.

That visit will be hosted by Robert and Gavin Hamilton, who produce cereals, beef and lamb on their farm at Garvald Mains near Haddington.

Speaking ahead of the visit, NFU Scotland Chief Executive Scott Walker said: “With Scotland and the rest of Europe still coming to terms with the current CAP deal, it is clear from Commissioner Hogan’s comments that he has quickly grasped the difficulties being experienced across the EU in implementing the new schemes.

“We are delighted that the Commissioner has taken up this invite to visit Scotland and, by having him visit a typical family farm, we can start to discuss the challenges that introducing the new CAP has posed for our farmers.

“We would want to see flexibilities around implementation and, given the potential for disruption to normal support payment timetables, some flexibility to allow direct payments to still be made to farmers in December as has been the case for years.

“As the final flush of support scheme applications comes in before the June 15 deadline in Scotland, the implementation of the new support system risks delaying payments at a time when low returns across many commodities are putting businesses under pressure. Scotland will not be alone in facing potential payment run disruption – a factor that merits European-wide consideration.

“On simplicity, Brian Pack’s recent red tape review has outlined that more must be done in Scotland to address the burden of paperwork or inspections in those areas where we have discretion. However, we also need changes in the EU on some rules and in particular a more proportionate penalty system that recognises genuine errors. We want the Commissioner’s simplification agenda to encompass that approach.”


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