Chapter 1: Introduction
The Scottish Government's Vision for Agriculture, published in March 2022, outlines our long term vision to transform how we support farming and food production in Scotland to become a global leader in sustainable and regenerative agriculture. This consultation seeks views on the proposals and powers that the Scottish Ministers require to make this vision become a reality.
After the UK withdrawal from the EU on 31 January 2020, our priority for agriculture and rural development was to provide stability and security for producers, land managers, and business. In 2020, legislation was enacted to allow the Scottish Ministers to ensure that EU CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) payments and schemes would continue for a period of stability and simplicity after EU-exit.
The new Agriculture Bill will aim to provide Scotland with a framework to support and work with farmers and crofters to meet more of our food needs sustainably and to farm and croft with nature. To ensure that Scotland's people are able to live and work sustainably on our land, this framework will deliver high quality food production, climate mitigation and adaptation, nature protection and restoration, and wider rural development. This consultation also includes proposals to modernise agricultural holdings and Scottish agricultural wages whilst seeking to compliment the forthcoming Bills relating to land and the environment. The new Agriculture Bill must therefore provide the legal framework to deliver:
- The Scottish Government's Vision for Agriculture;
- The National Performance Framework outcomes;
- Programme for Government and Bute House draft shared policy programme priorities;
- Emissions and nature restoration targets;
- Building on minimum regulatory standards;
- Just Transition which supports agriculture, land integration and land use change in a way that follows the Just Transition principles;
- Value for money; and
- Broad alignment to EU CAP objectives.
Our Vision for Agriculture makes the following commitment:
"We will transform how we support farming and food production in Scotland to become a global leader in sustainable and regenerative agriculture. This commitment will sit at the heart of a robust and coherent framework to underpin Scotland's future agriculture support regime from 2025 onwards. Scotland will have a support framework that delivers high quality food production, climate mitigation and adaptation, and nature restoration."
As set out in the Environment Strategy for Scotland, the Scottish Government is committed to addressing the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss: to create a fairer and greener Scotland. Scottish agriculture and associated land use will play a key role in tackling the twin crises. The Climate Change (Emissions Reductions Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019 created an obligation to reach net zero emissions across the economy as a whole by 2045 in a 'just way', and Scotland continues to draw on the independent advice of the Just Transition Commission in support of this.
Land management in Scotland will change as we tackle the twin climate and biodiversity crises, which will present challenges and opportunities. To ensure a just transition for agriculture and associated land use we will continue to support communities and encourage a co-operative approach to optimise collaboration and knowledge exchange. We will continue to support our farmers, crofters, land managers, and members of the agriculture supply chain to improve business resilience, efficiency and productivity, including through adoption and deployment of technology and innovation.
The proposals seek to deliver the aims and commitments outlined above whilst achieving coherence within the wider legislative and environmental context detailed in the following chapter.
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