NFUS calls on new First Minister to avoid farming cliff edge

NFU Scotland has congratulated John Swinney MSP on becoming Scotland’s new First Minister and written to him outlining the key priorities for farmers and crofters. The letter focusses on what NFUS believes is needed if Scotland is to have a profitable and sustainable agricultural sector that underpins the future prosperity. The Union has also requested an opportunity to meet with the First Minister.

In its letter, NFUS raises issues related to:

  • Economic growth and the shared ambition to avoid a cliff edge for the sector
  • The Agriculture and Rural Communities (Scotland) Bill
  • Future multiannual funding and funding allocations
  • The agricultural budget and return of funds
  • Active farming and crofting and their role in delivering on biodiversity and climate change needs
  • Future flood risk management
  • National Park proposals

President Martin Kennedy said, “I congratulate John Swinney MSP on his appointment. He is a politician that NFU Scotland has worked well with both nationally and locally over many years.

“The First Minister, coming from a rural constituency, is well aware that agriculture underpins rural communities across Scotland and is at the heart of flourishing environments. High-quality agricultural production is vital to the wider food and drink industry – a sector that is worth more than £16 billion to the Scottish economy, employs over 130,000 people, and supports Scotland’s national reputation on the world stage.

“We are a remarkable industry committed to high-quality agricultural production, helping to tackle climate change and enhance nature. However, to meet our full potential as a key component in Scotland’s future prosperity, we need to work closely with the new First Minister, the new Cabinet, and the wider Scottish Government to ensure that necessary economic, environmental and social outcomes are delivered.

“On becoming First Minister, Mr Swinney underlined economic growth as a key focus. There is no doubt that the return on investment that agriculture delivers from government funding is impressive.

“Our study of agricultural businesses across Scotland showed that £550 million in public support delivers £3.3 billion in Scottish agricultural output. Thousands of supply chain businesses are supported by farms and crofts the length and breadth of Scotland and high-quality agricultural production is fundamental to the wider food and drink industry.

“However, our sector faces many challenges. We have set out some of these in our letter to the First Minister, alongside solutions, which will help our sector to continue to contribute to the country’s economic growth. We also need Scottish Government to work with us as we seek to support and incentivise the next generation of Scotland’s farmers and crofters. We hope to discuss these issues in person with Mr Swinney in the near future.”


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