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Paice Picks Up on Scottish CAP Reform Message

Discussions between NFU Scotland and Defra have further underlined that a great deal of common ground exists regarding the priorities to be secured from current Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform negotiations.

At a working breakfast in Edinburgh today (Wednesday, 7 March), Defra Minister of State Jim Paice and his officials met with NFU Scotland representatives with CAP proposals dominating the 90-minute meeting.

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

“It was refreshing to sit down with the Minister of State and leading Defra officials to tease out common areas of concern within the CAP Reform proposals, particularly around the damaging ‘greening’ suggestions.

“We were reassured that greening is a priority issue for Defra and that in a bid to play a constructive role in EU negotiations, we need alternative ways of greening Pillar 1 of the CAP that are more pragmatic and effective than those currently on the table.  But equally, they must be acceptable to Scottish and UK farmers.

“A main target for change within the proposals is ecological focus areas and the notion of taking seven percent of land out of production.  Defra is working towards a more flexible member state or region approach that would look to take into account positive management practices and environmental work that is taking place on farm.  That would be a simpler and more acceptable approach than what is on the table from Europe.

“On permanent pasture – a key area of worry for Scotland’s livestock sector – there is the shared desire to get greater commitment and detail from the European Commission that permanent pasture rules won’t put a block on traditional grassland improvement seen in may parts of the country.

“There was also recognition that the ‘three crop rule’ in the proposals is a blunt tool to tackle cropping monocultures but would be hugely problematic for Northern member states, especially those like who are livestock-based, like Scotland, where the current prescription would be overly onerous.

“Other member states – the Irish and French – are considering similar flexibilities so we will continue to encourage Defra to seek alliances to ensure the best Reform deal is secured.  For Scotland, it may be that the deal involves the retention of a coupling option.   While not a UK priority, it is a Scottish priority – a fact recognised by the minister in our discussions.”

Notes to Editors

  • The breakfast meeting between Defra Minister of State Jim Paice and NFU Scotland took place at the Scotland Office, Melville Crescent.  The NFU Scotland delegation included President Nigel Miller, Vice President Allan Bowie and Director of Policy and regions Jonathan Hall.
  • While CAP Reform was the main agenda item, the following topics were also discussed: Welfare legislation in the pigs and poultry sector; Dairy code of conduct and milk contracts; Supermarket adjudicator legislation, MacDonald report on red tape and Schmallenberg virus.
  • A picture of Nigel Miller, Allan Bowie and Jim Paice MP is available on request from bob.carruth@nfus.org.uk or call: 07788 927675

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 26/12


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