New farm Payment Scheme Welcomed But More Clarity Needed on Future Policy

The British Veterinary Association’s (BVA) Scottish Branch has welcomed the new farm payment scheme.

The scheme was announced by Scotland’s Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon on Friday 10 February as part of the Scottish Government’s post-Brexit future framework for sustainable agriculture. 

Under the scheme, farmers and crofters who rear cattle and sheep will be able to claim a £250 payment for veterinary health and welfare interventions from this summer.

BVA Scottish Branch President Romain Pizzi said:

“The Scottish Government’s new farm payment scheme will support better livestock health and welfare in Scotland and provide welcome opportunities for vets to further engage with farmers and crofters rearing sheep and cattle.

“BVA would like to see the vet-farmer relationship embedded as the cornerstone in Scotland’s permanent future farming policy, to help deliver improved animal health and welfare, productivity, and sustainability goals.”

The new payment scheme is one of the first early reforms delivered by the Scottish Government to encourage a more sustainable and regenerative agriculture sector in Scotland. All registered sheep and cattle keepers who have a Business Reference Number (BRN) allocated by the Scottish Government’s Rural Payments and Inspections Division (RPID) will be eligible for a standard payment per completed intervention.

Mairi Gougeon said:

“Scotland’s farmers are the backbone of our nation, producing much of the food and drink that ends up on our dinner tables. With Brexit, the pandemic and, now, rising inflation, this period has seen some of the most challenging times the sector has ever faced.

“Despite this our farmers and crofters remain resilient, and I am determined to support them over the next few years as we transition from the EU’s CAP Payment system to a support framework that realises our vision for Scotland to be a global leader in sustainable agriculture.

“The new animal health and welfare payment is one of the first steps in this process and will reward farmers who take an active role in improving the health and welfare of the animals they keep.

The Food & Agriculture Stakeholders Taskforce (FAST) represents 20 organisation in farming, crofting and primary production. It also welcomed the statement by Mairi Gougeon but said that more clarity was still needed about developing future agricultural policy.

Speaking on behalf of FAST  Teresa Dougall said:

“This is no panacea, but it does give us the best insight into Scottish Government’s future plans for farming to date. However, we’d once again urge the Government to better engage with the industry to get it right. Poor or ill-informed decisions on future financial and policy support could destabilise and damage primary production businesses, negatively impacting the wider supply chain at the same time. 

“We are calling again for greater co-design with industry, which the Government has said it wants, and better communication on the details so businesses can plan ahead. FAST’s door is very much open to work constructively together with Scottish Government on this, and we’ve invited ministers and civil servants to meet with us and take advantage of the huge wealth of perspectives we can offer from around the table.”

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