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05/11/20 11:30

Support for farmers and crofters

Simplification and improvement of legislation.

Farmers and crofters across the country will benefit from the simplification of schemes, which form part of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

This follows the laying of new regulations which will come into force on 1 January 2021.

The measures mean the Greening scheme will continue into next year, increasing the environmental performance of farming, and businesses will be subject to fewer inspections, reducing potential stress among claimants being inspected, while increasing support that focuses on outcomes.

The Less Favoured Area Support (Scotland) (LFASS) amendments ensure that the Scottish Government maintains this vital support especially as the industry faces the impacts of Brexit and recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:

“We have worked closely with stakeholders and listened to the farming and crofting communities to simplify the schemes we administer to make sure they are as efficient and simple as possible. The Agriculture (Retained EU Law and Data) (Scotland) Bill gives us powers to continue CAP payments after Brexit, and make improvements that are tailored to suit Scotland’s unique agricultural and rural needs. 

“The changes for inspections focus on improving compliance through support, enhanced guidance, better targeting, and reducing the volume of routine inspections. This will help alleviate any concerns businesses may have.

“In these very uncertain times, we want to provide a sense of certainty to those farming and crofting in our most remote and fragile communities of rural Scotland and we are doing this by increasing the payment rates back to the levels seen in 2018.

“This will allow LFASS payments to compensate farmers for income foregone and for additional costs linked to natural constraints in order to encourage the use of agricultural land, thus contributing to the maintenance of the countryside as well as to the maintenance and promotion of sustainable farming systems.

“We continue to push for assurances that the UK Government will fully replace all lost EU funding so that we can provide assurance to the rural economies of Scotland.”

Background

The Scottish Government can now make further simplifications and improvements following the Agriculture (Retained EU Law and Data) (Scotland) Bill passing stage 3 on 26 August.

The Common Agricultural Policy (Simplifications and Improvements) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 and The Common Agricultural Policy (Less Favoured Area Support) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2020 have been laid today for approval by the Scottish Parliament and will come into force on 1 January 2021.

The inspections that are included are the former CAP schemes (land inspections, capital inspections and livestock head age inspections for coupled support) subject to claim after January 2021.

As announced in September, updates to the Greening regulations, which form part of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), have been agreed for 2021. They include:

  • removing crop diversification with effect from 2021
  • keeping permanent grassland to provide protection to Scotland’s semi-natural and environmentally sensitive grassland
  • keeping Ecological Focus Areas (EFA’s) in the short term subject to a wider farmer led review for the period post 2021

For further information visit Greening Guidance.

For complying with Greening regulations, farmers receive an additional payment on top of the Basic Payment Scheme. 

The Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) is part of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Under the CAP, it is mandatory for applicants to the Basic Payment Scheme to comply with Greening requirements, where relevant on their land.

Greening has been part of direct payment support to farmers and crofters since 2015. The requirements vary depending on agricultural practices undertaken by a business but help to deliver environmental and climate change benefits.