News

Supporting agriculture

Published: 04 Apr 2020 00:01

Farm payment schemes to alleviate COVID-19 pressures.

Around 7,000 specialist beef producers will benefit from payments worth around £40 million in the coming weeks, ensuring money is still going to farmers and crofters during these unprecedented and challenging times.

A further 469 convergence payments worth £768,500 have also been processed this week, mainly for new entrants to farming.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:

“Suckler herds form the backbone of quality beef production in Scotland, and I can confirm that the first tranche of the 2019 Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme payments will begin shortly.

“I am also pleased that we are making the convergence funds go further, reaching new entrants who are so important to the future of farming.

“All of these payments will aid business cash flow, helping to support farmers and crofters to continue to produce the quality meat products that Scotland is globally renowned for – and which we now need on our supermarket shelves more than ever.

“These are unprecedented and difficult times for the whole country and it is vital that we support our farmers and crofters. But we also need to keep the food supply chain moving. I would therefore encourage farmers and crofters to use their CAP payments to pay their bills and make investments for the seasons ahead to help keep money flowing through Scotland’s rural economy.”

Background

The 2019 Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme (SSBSS) payment rates are €114.00 (£101.56) per animal for SSBSS Mainland and €166.35 (£148.20) per animal for SSBSS Island (2019 conversation rate €1 = £0.89092). under the 2018 scheme, the payment rates were €110.80 (£98.92) per animal for SSBSS Mainland and €161.60 (£144.27) per animal for SSBSS Island (2018 conversion rate €1 = £0.89281). These payments are being made as set out in the CAP payment timetable published in January with further payments to be made in the coming weeks.

The Scottish Government received £80 million following a six year campaign to have EU convergence funds repatriated to Scottish farming. The Scottish Government has increased the fund to £90 million for 2019-20 to reach more farmers and crofters who need the support most. To date, £86.97 million in payments to farmers and crofters has been processed to help address this historic wrong. These funds were awarded to the UK by the EU because Scotland, in common with a range of other EU states and regions, had a historically low payment rate of CAP funds for farmers. The UK Government did not pass this funding on to Scotland until 2019.