Impacts of CAP reform on typical family farm
- The unwillingness of the Scottish Government to consider a Pillar 1 ANC removes an investment that could have been used to support Orkney and its island. With the profile of this reform that decision looks premature and could possibly be revised. There should be an enhanced area payment for region 1 (arable, TGRS, PGRS) for island areas in recognition of their increased vulnerability and lack of possible alternative enterprises.
- Robust measures need to be taken to ensure “inactive land” does not receive payment.
- If these options cannot be delivered then consideration needs to be given to the use of a “tunnel” option to provide some measure of stability to allow farm businesses to manage the change to area based payments.The importance of the SRDP is highlighted in sustaining the viability of the farm, especially the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS) element. It is hoped this can continue in its current form for the time being. A suitably focused new SRDP could help address some of the damaging impacts of the move to area based payments. Considerations should be given to:- The Scottish Government match funding the modulated funds taken from Pillar 1;
- Including a programme to improve the efficiency of the national cattle herd. This would allow some of the work established under the current LMO’s to be continued and help beef herd play its part in achieving climate change targets, while hopefully improving the economics of the sector;
- Including a small scale capital grant scheme to help improve farm efficiency, viability and resilience;
- Ensuring that environmental scheme priorities suit regional requirements allowing access for a wide geographical spread of projects to be funded;
- Reducing the proportion of the budget allocated to forestry. The prospect of farmers having their direct payments reduced partly to finance forestry projects which are of negligible benefit on Orkney further threatens the competitiveness of the local industry.
- Mr Moss added that the study has illustrated the potential damage that will be done to active livestock farms on Orkney should the reform of the CAP proceed as proposed.He said: “Orkney’s farmers have led the way in enhancing the health status of their animals, with the work done to eradicate BVD which, in turn, formed the template for the national scheme being one example. It is imperative that the expertise and stockmanship skills which has led to the islands hard earned reputation as a source of high quality livestock is not laid to waste by ill thought out reforms of the support systems.“The threat to the wider economy and environment is even more pronounced. Suppliers, hauliers, employees, and companies servicing the farming industry all face a bleak future if the proposals are not modified. “Similarly, those relying on the supply of produce from farms face uncertain times. There are a number of measures that can be used to reduce the effects of the changes and it is vital that they are deployed to ensure a viable future for agriculture on the islands.“There is still time to act – but urgent action is needed.”
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