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CAP Scheme Must Support Active Crofters

NFU Scotland has called on Scottish Government to ensure active crofters are fairly recognised under new CAP scheme rules.

Earlier this year, the Union wrote to Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead raising concerns that by automatically allocating crofting common grazings (CGs) to payment category 2 or 3, crofters could be disadvantaged by receiving a lower level of support than they would have received as an individual claimant.

On common grazing land, where inactive crofters or crofters keeping low numbers of livestock have right of access, more active crofters could also see their share of a common grazing pulled into payment region 3 and the lowest rate of area support applied.

Speaking ahead of addressing a meeting of members of Skye and Loch Duich Branch, being held in Broadford on Wednesday, 8 April, Vice President Andrew McCornick said:

“We have written to the Cabinet Secretary to point out that this problem could be overcome if those active on Region 3 land also got access to the coupled ewe hogg payments.  But many on Skye have land in all three Payment Regions – in-bye in Region 1, their own hill rough grazing in Region 2, and their common grazings share dragged into Region 3.

“The rules on the new coupled ewe hogg payment are that you must have more than 80 percent of your land in Region 3, but many of these active crofters fall short on that and cannot access the coupled payment.

“That leaves them with the double whammy of a lower area payment across all their land and no access to coupled support for ewe hogs despite being active producers.

“We have proposed that the regional payment is apportioned to a croft’s LFASS grazing category.  In addition, for active crofters, Scottish Government could waive the Region 3 eligibility rule for the new coupled hill sheep scheme or allow crofts to be treated separately and claimed separately from common grazings.

“For branch members with cattle on Skye, we have recently nailed down two key issues for those that traditionally calve their cows on the mainland.  Scottish Government has confirmed that suckler cows that calve on away wintering holdings on the mainland will not lose the island premium within the new Beef Calf Scheme, retaining an estimated €160 per calf.

“The ‘holding’ is defined in the eligibility criteria as where the calf must reside for 30 days for a claim to warrant payment, and this can include temporary accommodation including away wintering.

“In short, by raising this potential problem with the Cabinet Secretary we have ensured that Skye calves born on the mainland are eligible, and they will get the higher island payment rate.”

Ends

Contact Ruth McClean on 0131 472 4108

Date Published:

News Article No.: 60/15


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