LFA Funding Boost to Scotland's Hill Farming Sector - Scottish Government takes on NFU Scotland proposals

Scottish Government’s decision to adopt NFU Scotland’s proposals for improvements to the delivery of the Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme (LFASS) will secure a significant uplift in funding to all those receiving LFA payments from the 2011 scheme.  

By better focussing the whole scheme on active farmers, between £5 million and £10 million of funds are freed up by the Union model.   As a result, the Scottish Government has announced that beef and sheep producers farming category A and B land in the Standard area of LFASS will see a 38 percent uplift in their payment.  Those livestock farmers with category C and D land will see rates increase by five percent.

These rate increases are in addition to the Scottish Government decision, taken in June 2009, to boost LFASS payment rates in the Fragile and Very Fragile areas of the scheme by 38 percent – 19 percent in 2010 and 19 percent for next year’s scheme.  

The LFASS modifications will now ensure LFASS payments, from the 2011 scheme, are targeted at those actively farming in LFA areas, wherever they are in Scotland.

NFU Scotland President, Jim McLaren said:

“NFU Scotland firmly believes that an LFASS scheme that recognises the vital role played by active livestock production is fundamental to the health of Scotland’s hills and uplands.   With today’s announcement, and the announcement made last June, it is clear that the Scottish Government shares that belief.

“In the last few weeks, we submitted proposals to the Scottish Government on how we thought delivery of the funding available through LFASS could be changed to better recognise the contribution made by those producing stock across the whole of Scotland’s LFA area.

“The Scottish Government looked at our work and recognised that the introduction of variable minimum stocking densities for LFASS 2011 would free up funding within the existing LFASS budget.   We are delighted that it has chosen to use that funding to secure significant increases in the payment rates paid to active producers in the LFASS Standard area and deliver a real shot in the arm to livestock production across a huge chunk of Scotland’s hills and uplands.

“This announcement of an increase in LFASS payments for land in the Standard area, alongside those increases already agreed for the Fragile and Very Fragile areas, will make a massive contribution to the real costs of looking after livestock in these parts.  The availability of further support for capital projects on sheep farms, such as the installation or upgrading of sheep handling facilities, is also going to help our producers make the kind of investments needed if they are to have a more viable future in the livestock sector.”

Notes to Editors

  • Currently, the single minimum stocking density threshold for all farms in LFASS (regardless of grazing category) is 0.12 LU/ha.  NFU Scotland proposed that this be changed to a range of variable minimum stocking densities, to be introduced to LFASS 2011.   Adoption of this proposal will recognise that flock and beef herd replacements were excluded in the recent re-calculation of stocking densities.  Excluding these livestock categories would have meant that the most extensive hill units would have had their eligible hectares restricted further and could have seen LFASS payments reduced while being no less active.
  • NFU Scotland previously requested that the Scottish Government model a number of possible variable minimum stocking density options. The Scottish Government carried out this analysis.  The analysis showed that funds would be freed up within the existing LFASS budget.   These funds are now being directed to LFASS scheme recipients in the Standard area whilst retaining the existing payment rate increases, as announced in June 2009, for the Fragile and Very Fragile areas to LFASS 2013.
  • A new LFASS grazing category will be offered in 2011 for land that does not currently have one, so that a new claimant to the scheme can get LFASS.
  • A Scottish Government official has confirmed that, outside the Southern and Northern Milk Quota Ring Fence Areas, dairy farming will remain an ineligible activity with regards to the LFASS.
  • Changes are subject to the EU approval process. A submission will be made shortly for approval in time for 2011 implementation.


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 92/10

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