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Union Continues to Press on Payments as Challenges Continue for Farmers and Crofters

Farmers and crofters across Scotland have experienced one of the most unpredictable and challenging eighteen months in memory.  For some still awaiting 2017 payments, that support is increasingly in need to safeguard their businesses.

Many are still waiting for 2017 payments under a variety of Scottish Rural Development Programme (Pillar 2) schemes, including the Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme (LFASS), Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS), Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS), Rural Priorities (RPs) and Land Managers’ Options (LMOs).

These payments may not always add up to those of the mainstream agricultural support of Pillar 1 payments, but for farmers and crofters whose margins are extremely tight, especially through the additional costs driven by the extended adverse weather, they can be vital for cash flow and keeping businesses afloat.  

NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said: “Although a good amount of payments have been made, and payments have started across all schemes, for those individuals with outstanding sums due we must pull out all the stops to ensure that all payments are made in full as soon as possible.

“A farmer or crofter who may not have received Pillar 2 payments over the last two years could now be finding themselves with a serious cash flow problem, especially after the winter and summer we have had.

 “LFASS payments can be a large chunk of overall support for many in more disadvantaged areas – who face spiralling costs and flat-lining returns at best. Outstanding payments at this time of year can seriously hinder how they are able to plan for the coming winter and spring – undermining efforts to become more resilient.

“Many of the environmental and forestry schemes require initial investment from farmers before payments can be made. We are concerned that if farmers and crofters see expensive initial outlays and uncertain payments schedules, then there will be less enthusiasm to engage in measures that are intended to deliver public benefits – and which make a real difference to the local rural economy.

“It is important that these payments are made sooner rather than later, not just for the farmers and crofters but also for Scotland’s wider rural communities.

“When farmers are properly supported, the positive impact is felt throughout surrounding areas with businesses such farm shops, fencers and mechanics all reaping the benefits.”

Ends

Contact Douglas Ross on 0131 472 4059

Author: Douglas Ross

Date Published:

News Article No.: 121/18


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JR Huston

913 days ago

The NFUS have been asleep on this. Of the £14.7 million due for 2017 AECS management payments only £3.13 million has actually been paid! These payments are for income foregone the industry is essentially bank rolling Scot Gov. Time to do a bit more than press for payments. NFUS far too cozy with Fergus and his pals
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