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NFUS Makes Scottish CAP Stance Clear to Paterson

Union looking to follow up constructive meeting

NFU Scotland has used its first meeting with Defra Secretary of State Owen Paterson to make clear Scotland’s distinct requirements from the CAP Reform process.

Senior NFUS office bearers and staff met Mr Paterson – who is the UK’s lead negotiator on CAP Reform in Brussels - and Scottish Secretary of State, Michael Moore at NFUS President Nigel Miller’s farm at Stow in the Borders yesterday (27 March).

Given the useful discussion and the importance of securing the right CAP deal for Scotland, NFUS is keen to build on yesterday’s constructive dialogue with further face-to-face discussions.

Some gains have already been won for Scottish farming in CAP negotiations, including concessions on greening requirements at farm level. NFUS is seeking further amendments, however, which will help support Scotland’s unique and varied farming systems.

CAP reform negotiations are entering the closing stages over the next three months, and the EU Commission, EU Parliament and EU Council of Ministers have agreed their negotiating positions. Fundamental changes to the new CAP cannot now be made but there is still significant scope to amend the proposals to assist Scottish farmers, crofters and growers.

Speaking after the meeting, NFU Scotland President, Nigel Miller said:

“We covered a good deal of useful ground in yesterday’s meeting and the Minister was keen to clarify which concessions have been won so far in the CAP discussions. It is clear that Scotland will have greater flexibility to implement the CAP than before and we are keen to build on our dialogue with Mr Paterson as the reform process gains momentum.

“That flexibility includes the valuable option for regions, such as Scotland, to select ‘equivalent’ green measures that support their producers. For Scotland’s cereal growers, in particular those producing spring barley, the proposed three-crop rule would make current farming methods impossible. Our arable growers must be in a position to meet the greening requirements without a significant impact on their output or the output of other key sectors, such as our whisky industry.

“We are continuing to emphasise to all those involved in the CAP negotiations that they build in permission to pay a Single Farm Payment recipient 90 percent portion of their SFP at the earliest opportunity and the remaining 10 per cent once all inspections have been concluded.

“Given the likely complexity of any new system, this would give farmers the reassurance that they would receive the majority of their support payment in good time and maintain normal cash flow.

“We also continued our conversations with Mr Paterson about the important option for Scotland of coupling some support to livestock to cushion many of those farmers whose businesses will be shaken by the move to an area-based payment system. Scotland has a disproportionately low budget and one option to prevent major redistribution of funds within our active livestock sector may be by coupling support.

“Coupling could also help stabilise new entrants’ businesses and enable them to get a full and fair deal from day one of the new CAP as well as helping existing businesses in the transition to a full area payment system.

“Given that this CAP has been negotiated under intense economic pressure, budgetary concerns have overtaken one of the other main objectives of the reform: simplification.

“This is something we shall work on with the Scottish and UK governments when implementation rules are drafted following the broad agreement on CAP Reform, widely expected to be struck by the end of June. NFU Scotland would be the first to admit that there is a balance to be struck between simplification and creating a CAP that meets Scotland's needs.”

Ends

Contact Sarah Anderson on 0131 472 4108
 

Date Published:

News Article No.: 43/13


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