Scottish Farming & Food Production Working Group Looks to the Future for the Industry

aberdeen-angusAs Brexit looms over the horizon, 31st of October – likely with a no deal – and business certainly not as usual in the UK Parliament as the Agriculture Bill is stuck in limbo  – the Scottish Government has announced a working group on farming and food production.

Brexit and future reforms to agriculture are going to have a massive effect on Scotland’s farming and crofting community. The proposed reforms favour larger farm sizes as the UK Government through DEFRA, sets to change the farming industry. It’s not good news for Scotland where 80% of our farms are in less favoured areas. The LFAS subsidies recognise that due to its geography, distance from markets and climate, farming in Scotland is difficult.

less favoured area map

Despite the difficulties Scotland’s farmers produce high quality food which is recognised with protected named status by the EU. Internationally recognised Protected Named Status  will go with Brexit. Scotland the Brand which has also seen food and drink exports surge because –  quality counts – is also quickly disappearing – just look at the packaging in supermarkets.

The new working group being formed in Scotland will not only look at the effects of Brexit on farming and food production but also climate change which in the long term will have a much more devastating impact.

The group will base its work around 6 principles:

  1. sustainability
  2. simplicity
  3. profitability
  4. innovation
  5. inclusion
  6. productivity

The members are:

  • Andrew Watson (Chair), Director Scottish Government
  • John Kerr, Head of Agricultural Policy Scottish Government
  • George Burgess, Deputy Director Scottish Government
  • Martin Kennedy, National Farmers Union Scotland
  • Sarah Alison, Quality Meat Scotland
  • Lucy Husband, Scotland Food and Drink
  • Tbc, Citizens Advice Scotland
  • Marion McCormick, Former Aldi Executive
  • Robbie Galloway, Scotbeef
  • Aoife Behan, Soil Association
  • Anne McCall, RSPB Scotland
  • Deborah Long, SE Link
  • Ian Muirhead, Harbo
  • Joyce Campbell, Sheep farmer, Entrepreneur
  • James Graham, Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society
  • Lisa Buchanan, Crofter
  • Robert Graham, Grahams Family Dairy Group
  • Hugh Campbell Adamson, Stracathro Estates
  • Alison Milne, Demperston farm
  • Lochy Porter, Angus Fruits

Fergus EwingRural Economy Secretary in the Scottish Government, Fergus Ewing said:

“Scotland’s landscape and climate provide us with an unrivalled natural larder. We need to develop policies which support both, to ensure that our status as a high quality producer of food is maintained and grows.

“Crucially, we need an integrated approach that will ensure that Scotland’s land assets play their part in responding to and mitigating the global climate emergency. I look forward to hearing the proposals.”



Reporter: Fiona Grahame

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