Falkirk District’s farmers and rural communities will benefit from new Common Agricultural Policy for Scotland


Angus MacDonald MSP welcomes plan to support Falkirk District’s farmers

CAP implementation will provide more support for farmers and a stronger rural development programme.

The Scottish Government has outlined how the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will be implemented in Scotland including plans for direct farm payments and Scotland’s rural development programme between 2015 and 2020.
In addition the rural development programme is designed to deliver key priorities of sustainable economic growth, protecting the environment and tackling climate change, and ensuring vibrant rural communities. This includes increased funding for agri-environment schemes by £10 million per year and maintained budgets for the Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme (LFASS), forestry and LEADER.

The main points announced yesterday in Parliament include:
* Strict activity requirements that farmers will have to meet to be eligible for direct payments. This will remove land with no agricultural activity from the payment regime, which is currently estimated at 600,000 hectares in total.
* Basic direct farm payments will be capped at around £400,000 per year after labour costs
* Sporting estates will be added to the negative list to exclude them from receiving direct farm payments unless they can prove they are a genuine farm business
* The creation of three payment regions and a coupled support scheme for sheep for producers in the third region
* A five year transition between 2015 and 2019 for the move from historic to area-based farm payments, which is required by Europe. New entrants, who have previously been excluded from receiving direct farm payments, will get the regional average from day one of the new CAP
* A new £45 million three year beef improvement scheme. This is in addition to the 8 per cent coupled support scheme for beef which is being retained. Beef producers on the islands will be eligible for higher coupled support payments than mainland producers, with an uplift of around €65 per calf
* A greener CAP, with farmers being rewarded with Pillar 1 top-up payments for taking action to protect biodiversity and reduce emissions, and confirmation that rural development funding for agri-environment and climate change schemes will increase by more than £10 million per year as proposed in our consultation

Welcoming the announcement, MSP for Falkirk East Angus MacDonald MSP said:

“The new CAP is good news for Falkirk district’s active farmers.

“These measures announced this week target support at genuinely active farmers – including new entrants – as well as specific measures to support Scottish livestock producers and the environment.

"I applaud the Cabinet Secretary and the Scottish Government for their efforts to get this right and am well aware that difficult decisions needed to be taken in order to remedy old imbalances that had been allowed to linger on, and in a funding situation that is less than good thanks to the extraordinary negotiations of the UK Government.

"If only it was possible to please everyone! However, the balance struck between moving forward - rectifying issues that needed sorting - and allowing farmers time to adapt is well made and should allow for the smoothest possible transition into the new regime.

"Scotland's agriculture is very different to the conditions south of the border and the Scottish Government has had to fight tooth and nail to have our specificities recognised by Westminster. Even with our limited powers we made some progress but this reform really has underlined how much better off we would be if we had our own seat at the top table for future negotiations.

“Indeed, if Scotland had been an independent country during the last round of CAP talks, we would have received an additional €1 billion in direct farm support.”

"It is crucial that we vote for independence on 18th September.”

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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