News

Farming needs to change

Published: 31 May 2018 10:00

Agriculture Champions deliver their report.

New policies and mindsets are required to address the unprecedented challenges facing agriculture due to Brexit, the Agriculture Champions have warned.

The four Agriculture Champions were appointed last year with a remit to advise on the development of a new strategy for the sector. In their final report, the champions call for a two-stage, long-term vision based on what the public wants and values in Scottish farming.

In stage one, polices would not be changed radically, but an emphasis placed on encouraging industry and businesses to become more entrepreneurial, with farm funding maintained at current levels.

In stage two, an element of basic income support would continue, but at a lower rate, with the majority of funding allocated to schemes that boost productivity and enhance natural capital – tailored to regional or sectorial needs and capped per farm.

Welcoming the report, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:

“Scottish farming is about to enter the biggest period of upheaval in a generation due to Brexit, which will require government, industry and businesses to adapt and change so that our farming remains vibrant, resilient, and profitable.

“I endorse the findings that support based on activity and production should be retained to an extent, but there should be a major new focus on increasing productivity. To support this, we need to better link research and development with on farm practice, encouraging businesses to collaborate, become more entrepreneurial, and do more to attract people to the sector.

“I thank the four champions for producing this comprehensive report, which will feed directly into my thinking on developing a future farming strategy for the years to come.”

Background

A Future Strategy for Scottish Agriculture was developed by the four agricultural champions, Henry Graham (Scottish Chair of Lantra), Archie Gibson (Chair of Scottish Food and Drink Federation), John Kinnaird (Farmer and former President of NFUS), and Marion MacCormick (former Buying Director for ALDI).