Seeking a Simpler Way Forward for LFA Support

NFU Scotland is already engaged in crucial work to shape a simpler delivery system for Scotland’s Less Favoured Areas support from 2014 onwards.

The Scottish Government, in partnership with industry, has made significant improvements to the Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme (LFASS) in recent years. These have resulted in more than £60 million of annual support being better targeted towards active grazing management. These lifeline payments now provide a more secure platform for LFA farming and crofting.

However, eligibility for current support is triggered by appropriate grazing management with breeding cattle or sheep during the base year of 2009. That new base year has opened the door to new LFASS claimants being frozen out of the current LFASS scheme.

NFU Scotland Director of Policy and Regions, Jonnie Hall said:

“Re-vamping the eligibility criteria and payment basis for LFASS has provided a better targeted support scheme and brought more producers under the LFA support umbrella. Unfortunately, setting a base year for the scheme has the downside of creating a solid barrier for new claimants after 2009. 

“These businesses, often new to the industry or in a development phase, are therefore operating in a challenging economic environment and feel further disadvantaged.

“As there is little or no scope within the current Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) and LFASS to offer priority or flexibility to those who have been excluded, NFUS has already set about the task of designing a deliverable and inclusive LFA support measure to take over after 2013.

“We believe that the future LFA support measure for Scotland must be simplified and must strip out the existing historic component. What is required is a support measure based on the additional costs of active grazing management in areas of natural constraint.

“Simplification could be achieved by moving eligibility from a base year to an appropriate stocking range that fits within land type. This would then provide the flexibility needed to respond to changing systems and the creation of new businesses. Importantly, it would also add a more obvious grazing management dimension to this Pillar 2 measure.

“It is vital, as we look towards a new CAP package to deliver for the whole of Scotland, that we explore fully the options to underpin continuous farming activity through both direct means in Pillar 1 and through rural development measures in Pillar 2.” 


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006


Date Published:

News Article No.: 209/11

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