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Union Welcome for Agri-Champions’ Report

Themes in discussion document mirror Union messages on change

NFU Scotland has welcomed the messages on positive change included in the interim discussion document from Scotland’s four Agri-Champions, published today (17 November).

The four Agricultural Champions were appointed by Scottish Government in January 2017 to advise on the development of a strategy to guide the long-term sustainable future for Scottish agriculture.  Targets included increasing profitability and boosting innovation, production and sustainability. Each champion was paired across four themes: Education and Training; Food and Drink; Sustainability and Public Value.

In welcoming the thrust of the report, NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said: “The direction of travel suggested by this discussion paper is very much in line with our Brexit CHANGE documents, currently being discussed at packed Brexit roadshows the length and breadth of Scotland.  

“The strong message is that farming is a long-term business that needs a strategy with a timescale to match.  Quick fix policies or policies that chop and change as the balance of governments alter are of little use.  We welcome the fact that what is being suggested is an agricultural strategy that spans 10 or 15 years and stretches well beyond a single parliamentary term.  

“A real partnership between government and the industry is essential if we are to get the right policy for farming. Pursuing a ‘cheap imported food’ policy would decimate Scottish farming, our rural economy and destroy the many jobs in and dependent upon our Scottish food and drink industry.  As Brexit happens, this partnership approach to policy must be recognised by the people making the critical decisions.

“The champions acknowledge in their report that agriculture, as an industry, merits support and, in our CHANGE documents, we recognise that the basis for that support will change.

“If the government works in partnership with the industry, I am certain we can get the right agricultural policy and the right support package that will enable Scottish farming to thrive and grow.  

“For the Scottish economy, the ambitious prize is the doubling our food and drinks sector by 2030.   That will only happen if we support agriculture, increase our agricultural output and allow our farms to grow the crops that are needed and rear the livestock that is wanted.  Profitable production from our farms must be the goal.

“Generating a profitable and vibrant industry will also be key to securing the future generations of Scottish farmers and crofters.  The interim report contains very valuable and welcome messages on how to develop apprenticeships and build careers to create a workforce that will underpin our sector in the years ahead.”

Notes to Editors

  • In January 2017, the Scottish Government appointed four Agriculture Champions to advise on the development of a strategy to guide the long-term sustainable future for Scottish agriculture, by increasing profitability and boosting innovation, production and sustainability. Each Champion was paired across four themes: Education and Training Champion - Henry Graham, Scottish Chair of Lantra; Food and Drink Champion - Archie Gibson, Chair of the Scottish Food and Drink Federation; Sustainability Champion - John Kinnaird, Farmer and Former President of NFUS; Public Value Champion - Marion MacCormick, formerly Buying Director for ALDI.
  • The interim report is available at: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/11/6588 
  • NFU Scotland arranged for Public Value Agri-Champion Marion MacCormick, to visit Loch Lomond hill farmer Bobby Lennox this week.  A photograph of the visit is available on request from media@nfus.org.uk  
  • To read NFU Scotland’s Brexit CHANGE documents follow links below: https://www.nfus.org.uk/userfiles/images/Policy/Brexit/Brexit%20Doc%20-%20pages.pdf  and https://www.nfus.org.uk/userfiles/images/News%20Release/Change%20Document%20August%202017%20website.pdf 
  • NFU Scotland’s remaining Brexit roadshow events are as follows (all start at 7.30pm unless stated otherwise)
    • 21 November –Western Hotel, Ayr
    • 22 November –Threave Visitor Centre, Castle Douglas 
    • 23 November –Carfraemill, Lauder 
    • 24 November –Tarbert Bowling Club, Argyll (at 12.30pm) and Cuan Mor, Oban.


Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 167/17


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