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CAP Info to Farmers Still Lacking Vital Details

Union calls on ScotGov to reveal decisions on ‘greening’

Growers in Scotland have begun planting crops that will be harvested under the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) regime yet they still have not been told what all the rules will be on the so called ‘greening’ measures.   As a result, they are having to make assumptions that may or may not be correct.

The Scottish Government is about to send farmers a pack of information on CAP, much of it unchanged from material previously available in June.   In contrast, growers in England have been given much clearer, up-to-date guidance.   NFU Scotland is once again calling upon the Scottish Government to make and announce its decisions on greening.

NFU Scotland President Nigel Miller said:

“A pack on CAP reform is about to be posted by the Scottish Government to all Scottish farmers.   The main document has been available since the Royal Highland Show in June but it remains in desperate need of being updated.

“For months, we have been seeking answers to a significant number of questions on the greening aspects of the new CAP.   These are not questions about the generality of the rules – covered in the documents being sent out now - but specific questions that growers need answers to so they can plan and execute their cropping programmes.

“There was a very valuable commitment to providing viable Ecological Focus Area (EFA) options for all and, at this late stage, that hasn’t been delivered yet.

“Farmers in England have had a lot of information available since June and a further 40 pages of guidance was published earlier this month.   In contrast, the Scottish Government’s brief greening document on its website fails to provide the detail that is needed by growers.

“We recognise the decision-making process within the European regulation is difficult but the urgency of cultivation and drilling must mean that workable decisions and detail has to be on farm before much more is ploughed.  That hasn’t been achieved.

“Despite our requests for guidance, growers have not been able to wait any longer.   Winter oilseed rape has to be planted in August and that is well underway; drilling of winter barley will begin in September and seed orders for other crops are being placed.   There is no more time for decisions to be considered, they have to be taken now!”

Notes to Editors

  •  “Agricultural practices beneficial for the climate and the environment”, known as ‘greening’ are mandatory requirements of the CAP reform coming into force on 1 January 2015.   They require farmers to comply with rules on Permanent Grassland, Crop Diversification and Ecological Focus Areas (EFA).   Thirty percent of the entire budget for direct payments is dedicated to greening.
  • Farmers who fail to abide by the requirements are subject to reductions in farm support.   In 2015 this could mean the loss of more than 30 percent of their direct payments.   That potential loss increases during the lifetime of the reform.
  • The main document in the information pack being sent to farmers is a 15 page CAP booklet entitled ‘The new Common Agricultural Policy in Scotland.   An introduction to what it means for you’.   It was first made available at the Royal Highland Show on 19 June 2014.
  • The detail that growers are still looking for includes:
  • management rules for Nitrogen Fixing Crops
  • the start and end dates for EFA Fallow
  • what will be required for land to be deemed to be at a farmers ‘disposal’ (important for rental/tenancy issues)
  • any changes on the rules concerning cultivation next to landscape features
  • the rules for catch/cover crops claimed as EFA
  • lists of crops acceptable for crop diversification, ‘permanent’ crops and ‘leguminous’ crops
  • Rules on crops sown as a mixture of species.

Ends

Contact Ruth McClean on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 140/14


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