- At least 70 per cent of future funding to be delivered in Tiers 1 and 2 of new agricultural policy.
- Funding dependent on delivering more sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices.
Farmers have welcomed the funding commitment to future Scottish agricultural policy made by First Minister Humza Yousaf MSP when he addressed more than 400 delegates at the Union’s annual conference in Glasgow last Friday.
In his address, the First Minister reiterated Scottish Government’s commitment that there would be ‘no cliff edges’ in support as Scotland transitions between existing schemes and the introduction of the new four tier framework.
He informed delegates that funding for Tiers 1 and 2 will constitute at least 70 per cent of the overall funding envelope to support farming, crofting and land management from 2027. These are the tiers that will reflect most closely the current direct payment regime that delivers schemes such as Basic Payment Scheme and Greening.
However, the First Minister added that farmers would be “expected to deliver more for nature and climate for that funding”.
As part of the Agriculture and Rural Communities Bill, which is currently passing through the Scottish Parliament, farmers receiving basic payments will have to embrace sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices.
The First Minister also announced that, in addition, funding for the replacement for the Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme, currently worth £65 million, will be made available through Tier 2 once the replacement scheme has been decided.
Responding at the event, NFU Scotland’s President Martin Kennedy said, “We welcome the First Minister delivering clarity on future levels of support to be delivered under Scotland’s future agricultural policy.
“Equally important was the First Minister’s recognition of the economic importance of our sector and his stated ambition that he wants to see our production of high-quality food and drink grow. That needs farming and crofting to be at the heart of the new agricultural policy and this Tier 1 and Tier 2 funding announcement is a lobbying success for NFU Scotland.
“The huge unknown is all of this is what agricultural funding will be made available to Scotland by Westminster and that we have no certainties beyond the end of the current parliament. We are in an election year, and we have made our case clear that we need at least another £1b to be added to the UK budget for agriculture.
“Under the current financial arrangement, that would see at least another £170m to go into the Scottish agricultural budget. We already have the backing of the Lib Dems on this extra £1b and they have agreed to this in their manifesto. We want that same commitment from all other parties when manifestos start to emerge.
“We can have the best agricultural policy in the world but if there’s no meaningful funding to deliver it, that would be a cliff edge for our members.”