Loan payments are now being issued to provide financial support to hill farmers and crofters in some of Scotland’s most marginalised areas.
Under the first tranche of the Less Favoured Area Support Loan Scheme (LFASS) payments, more than 7,500 eligible farmers will receive the loans.
Remote farmers will receive loans of up to 95% of their 2019 payment – more than the 90% offered last year.
With more than £38 million of loan payments now underway, a further 2,500 eligible hill farmers and crofters can still receive payment under this mechanism if they choose to accept their offer, as further payment runs continue in the coming weeks.
The Scottish government's rural economy secretary, Fergus Ewing said: “With the first tranche of Less Favoured Area Support Scheme loan payments investing more than £38 million into some of our more remote and marginalised areas – and with more to follow - I believe we are doing just that.
“Our rural economy is on the front line of the potential impacts of Brexit, with remote and rural areas likely to be hit the hardest.
“With 75% of eligible hill farmers and crofters having accepted a loan offer, I am pleased that we are able to offer a degree of clarity and certainty through these payments.”
An LFASS 2019 loan scheme was announced in December 2019. It has been designed so the sum paid is less than the amount due from CAP LFASS 2019.
The sum will be automatically deducted from the LFASS payment when it is fully processed and farmers will receive the balance payment.
The loan is against the 2019 payment, which is 80% of the 2018 rates due to EU rules.
It is anticipated that LFASS 2019 payments will start in April.