NFU Scotland to take high level delegations to Brussels and Westminster next week

High level delegations from Scotland’s farming union will be in Brussels and Westminster on Monday (7 September) seeking political support for measures to tackle the current crisis.
In Brussels, NFU Scotland President Allan Bowie; Vice President Rob Livesey and Livestock committee chairman Charlie Adam will join with other UK farming unions and more than 2000 farmers at a mass demonstration outside the venue for an extraordinary meeting of EU Agriculture Ministers.  Organised by COPA COGECA – the umbrella organisation for EU farming unions and co-operatives – the demo is in response to the unprecedented crisis hitting EU farmers across many sectors.
Given that ministers from all parts of the UK are likely to be in Brussels for the council meeting, NFUS is seeking an opportunity to brief politicians in person on the day.
Also on Monday, seven members of NFU Scotland’s Board of Directors will be in Westminster to meet with Scottish MPs to discuss the current crisis in Scottish farming and the union’s vision for the industry.  
At both meetings, the Union will push for short, medium and long term measures that can address the problems facing Scottish farmers and crofters.
These include: 
 -  Easing cash flow difficulties and strengthening safety nets by ensuring delivery of direct support payments under the new CAP arrangements in December; delivery of agri-environment and rural development support in early autumn; significantly simplifying the CAP; exploring options for long term investment in agriculture through the European Investment Bank and commitment to review the intervention levels for dairy products.
 - Injecting long term thinking and fairness into the food supply chain at both UK and EU levels; ensure food sourced from out with the EU doesn’t contravene EU regulations or distort the market place; establish an EU task force to tackle the lamb market and sheep sector and drive forward longer term measures in the dairy sector to provide resilience to extreme volatility. 
 - Developing opportunities for UK produce and UK farmers by significantly strengthening country of origin labelling (COOL); increase funding levels available for promoting Scottish or UK produce in new markets both in EU and non-EU countries and strengthen investment in farming, research and innovation to improve productivity, efficiency and competitiveness.
Speaking ahead of his Brussels trip, NFU Scotland President Allan Bowie said:
“These are unprecedented times for Scottish farming with so many key contributors to our agricultural output – cropping, livestock and dairy - struggling in the face of low prices, extreme market volatility and challenging weather. But we are not alone, and these are problems faced by fellow farmers in the UK and across Europe
“In Scottish, UK and European terms, farming remains hugely important in delivering economic and environmental benefits. It provides high quality food, manages the countryside and is the bedrock of the rural economy and that is why political action at all parliaments is required. 
“While it is a perpetual challenge to manage the laws of supply and demand, there are actions that can be taken across the supply chain to ease the current crisis, prevent farmers going out of business and, instead, realise their potential. On Monday, we will discuss those actions with our politicians in Brussels and London.
 “Along with our fellow UK farming unions, we believe there are measures that should be taken in the short, medium and long term by the UK and devolved administrations in close collaboration with the EU institutions to address the problems facing the farming sector.”  Ends
Notes to Editors
On Monday 7 September, NFU Scotland President Allan Bowie, Vice President Rob Livesey and Livestock Committee Chairman Charlie Adam will be in Brussels.  They will be accompanied by Livestock Policy Manager John Sleigh. The party will meet with other UK faming unions; have requested a briefing with UK and devolved farming ministers and participate in a demonstration by European farmers outside the European Agriculture Ministers extraordinary council meeting taking place in the Justus-Lipsius building.  The demonstration is scheduled to run from 12.15pm (11.15 UK time) until 2.00pm (1.00pm UK time).  Charlie Adam and John Sleigh will also participate in a joint UK Unions meeting of livestock representatives.
Also on Monday 7 September, a delegation from NFU Scotland’s Board of Directors will be in Westminster to brief Scottish MPs on the current crisis within the Scottish farming sector and on the measures that can be taken at a UK level to tackle that.  The delegation includes: Ian Sands (Combinable Crops Committee Chairman); Jamie Smart (Legal and Technical Committee Chairman); Martin Kennedy (Less Favoured Areas Committee Chairman); Gerald Banks (Environment and Land Use Committee Chairman); Gary Mitchell (Dumfries & Galloway Regional Chairman); John Wildman (Ayrshire Regional Chairman) and Roddy Kennedy (East Central regional Chairman). The delegation will be accompanied by Director of Policy Jonnie Hall; Parliamentary Officer Clare Slipper and Communications Manager Ruth McClean.
To arrange interviews or photographs please contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006; Ruth McClean on 0131 472 4108 or email: 

Date Published:

News Article No.: 168/15

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