NFU Scotland Remains Unsupportive of Digital Grain Passport Proposals

Decision taken after further extensive consultation with members.

NFU Scotland has informed the Digital Grain Passport (DGP) leadership group that it does not support the introduction of a digital passport to accompany grain movements.

NFU Scotland first challenged the proposed introduction of DGPs in November 2022, following extensive consultation with its membership. 

Over the last 18 months, NFU Scotland has been part of the leadership, development and data stakeholder groups looking at the business case for implementing a digital passport for combinable crop movements. A consultation on the latest proposals closed in February 2024 and a new business case was brought forward to the industry last month. NFU Scotland’s view on the new business case was discussed at a meeting of the leadership group on Friday 5 July.

With regards to DGPs, NFU Scotland has six key tests where it required each of the conditions to be met before it could fully support the initiative. 

These tests are: 

  • Is it accessible? 
  • Is it efficient? 
  • Is it fit for purpose? 
  • Are the costs proportionate to the benefits? 
  • Will the data be owned by those who provide it? 
  • Will the farming sector have a say in how data is used? 

In the previous consultation, NFU Scotland considered that these had not all been met. However, the business case around DGP had been revisited with a view to addressing the concerns of both farmers and stakeholders. There has also been pressure coming from supply chain customers such as millers and maltsters seeking to implement digital supply chain traceability which brought additional urgency. 

At its meeting on 28 June, NFU Scotland’s Combinable Crops committee concluded that it remained unsupportive of the introduction of DGP. It arrived at that decision following a further round of internal discussions and the position represents the view of the majority of its members.

Vice President Andrew Connon and the Union’s Combinable Crops Committee Chair Jack Stevenson have been members of the DGP Leadership group.

Vice President Andrew Connon said: “NFU Scotland members made the bold but justifiable decision to put the brakes on the introduction of DGPs 18 months ago until a clear business case for their introduction could be made.

“After further consultation with members on the latest business case made for the introduction of digital passports, there remains a strong feeling that the current paper system is functioning well for what our farmers need. 

“Broadly, the committee’s view regarding the six tests remains unchanged. While we can see some potential advantages there remains question marks regarding complexity, accessibility, efficiency and proportionate costs.

“I thank our members for their continued engagement on this matter.

“There is no doubt that technology is the way ahead for our industry and some merchants are already using technology for feedback on analysis and weights, but technology needs to be proven to have a genuine benefit for our growers and in the case of DGP it has yet to satisfy the six key criteria that NFUS originally highlighted.

“In addition, the grain trade needs to decide what it wants as there are still mixed messages coming from Scottish suppliers, hauliers, merchants and end-users with some in favour but many others staunchly against the idea. With mixed messages from the trade, it is little wonder that Scotland’s farmers are not convinced of the benefits of moving to the proposed DGP.”  


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 56/24

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