21 April 2015 | Online since 2003



18 February 2014|News,NFU

Union support for Lochhead visit to Brussels


NFU Scotland has written to the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Richard Lochhead, welcoming his visit to Brussels today and urging him to build on the new political dynamic that emerged from the Union’s recent AGM.

Political statements at the NFUS event, held in St Andrews on 10 and 11 February, opened the door to the further use of coupled support in Scotland and a commitment to a budget review process in 2016 that could see a fairer allocation of CAP funding across the UK.

Mr Lochhead is meeting the European Commission to discuss Scottish Government’s new proposals for implementing the ‘Scottish clause’ to tackle slipper farming and also its views on a higher rate of voluntary coupled support.

The Union believes there are challenges ahead at Westminster and in Europe if Scotland is to gain the power of coupling support to vulnerable hill farms but, together with effective minimum activity requirements, it is a ‘must win’ for Scotland if Pillar 1 support is to meet its stated purpose. Determining convergence criteria for the UK budget review will also be hard fought with our partners within these islands.

Welcoming the Cabinet Secretary’s visit to Brussels, and urging him to keep working on coupling and budget convergence criteria, NFUS President Nigel Miller said:

“In the aftermath of the presentations at our AGM, there is now a new political dynamic. A door has opened to the further use of coupled support in Scotland and a process for a UK budget allocation review in 2016 is starting to emerge. That is based on the goal of similar land types in the UK moving to similar area support budgets per hectare.

“These are significant developments for our industry and offer an invaluable way forward in which the Cabinet Secretary’s input will be crucial if value is to be secured.

“Coupling is a powerful targeting tool, as it can deliver both vital support to active farming where it is most needed and, through budget efficiency, the use of that same tool protects the value of area payments throughout Scotland.

“NFU Scotland has highlighted the risks of active and productive hill farms failing in the rough grazing payment region because of the single, flat rate area payment that has been proposed. That same approach also overcompensates areas of low intensity, extensive hill grazing. Coupling part of the rough grazing payment region budget can solve these issues without draining money from low ground support.

“Units with 80 percent rough grazing or more are amongst the highest risk units in Scotland – physically constrained and financially exposed to volatility in markets and input costs, and now many of the most active are facing significant reductions in direct support receipts. Focusing explicit coupled support on this group of farms can help to close the rough grazing support gap. That focus can secure hill ewes, hill cattle and communities in remoter and disadvantaged areas.

“The issue of the UK’s convergence dividend was also a key theme at our AGM. The concept of equivalent support for equivalent land classes is hard to argue against in a UK context.

“At our AGM, Defra Farming Minister George Eustice laid out broad terms of reference for a budget review in 2016 being based primarily on “fairness” and a parity of payments footing.

"However, the basis of convergence is not fixed, and it must be defined clearly before this process can be taken forward. It is important that Richard Lochhead and his officials engage with Defra and the other devolved administrations to bolt down regionalisation, land equivalence standards, and budget weighting as the foundation of that essential review process.”

Download




Comments


No comments posted yet. Be the first to post a comment

To post comment without approval login or register

Display name

Please enter your name

Email (optional)
Comment

Please enter your comment

Post Comment

Your comment submitted successfully.Please wait for admin approval.

Some error on your process.Please try one more time.



Jobs


10 April 2015
Reporting Analyst
“Medina Dairy - a successful and progressive, family-run, business. Medina Dairy operates across 14 depots with over 400 empl...

13 April 2015
Food/Technical Technologist
Experience working with dairy products will also be hugely beneficial. Working directly with a major retailer to maintain the...

15 April 2015
Graduate Digital Sales Executive
Our client specialises in producing sustainable agriculture, animal health and welfare literature. Graduate Digital Sales Exe...

1 April 2015
Farm Liason Manager - West Wales
Farm Liaison Manager. Monitoring raw milk quality ex farm. Undertaking farm audits (Red Tractor Assurance in place)....

17 April 2015
Field Service Technician
The successful Field Service Technician will have a total of five years’ experience with agricultural or plant equipment alon...



Top stories you may have missed
10 April 2015 | Agri Safety

Final phase of Scotland's war on BVD

The permanent eradication of Bovine Viral Diarrhoea [BVD] in Scottish cattl...


10 April 2015 | Dairy

Dairy farmers competitiveness will be te...

The abolition of milk quotas in Europe on 1st April has resulted in a numbe...


10 April 2015 | Cattle

EU milk sector growth 'dependent on expo...

The top 14 milk producing countries in Europe will increase their productio...


10 April 2015 | News

Could the rural vote hold the key to the...

Matt Ware is the NFU's head of government and parliamentary affairs, based ...


10 April 2015 | Arable

Action needed to boost farmgate prices i...

There is a 'desperate need' to improve farmgate returns given low incomes a...


9 April 2015 | Arable

OSR damage risks early Sclerotinia infec...

Rapid stem extension, after a slow start to spring, is likely to create spl...


9 April 2015 | Finance

Time for a farm rent revolution?

The time has come for landlords to expect to see reductions in farm rents, ...


8 April 2015 | Cattle

Cogent strengthens reputation for high c...

Cogent’s reputation as a source of the highest calibre sires has been enhan...


8 April 2015 | Arable

Exotic plant fungus a 'serious threat to...

The spread of exotic and aggressive strains of a plant fungus is presenting...


7 April 2015 | Animal Health

Share information to tackle food fraud, ...

The FSA’s new Food Crime Unit wants the industry to share information, some...