Agricultural Policy Timetable Outlined in Scotland07 March 2014
SCOTLAND, UK - The Scottish Government is currently seeking views on how the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) should be implemented in Scotland and how farm payments should be distributed in Scotland over the next seven years.
Rural Affairs Secretary, Richard Lochhead, has set out his plan for the coming months and the next steps in the process.
He has also confirmed responses to the direct payments consultation will now be accepted up to 28 March 2014 – almost two weeks later than the original deadline of March 17, 2014. It will then be followed in April by a programme of engagement with industry representatives, before seeking to announce final decisions by the end of June.
Mr Lochhead said: “These CAP reforms are arguably the most radical in a generation, and the decisions made now will affect rural Scotland for years to come. It is imperative that the new CAP supports farming and food production, as well as responsible land use, and it is therefore imperative that we get these decisions right.
“The biggest shake up will be to direct farm payments where we have a wide range of options open to us. Since the Scottish Government’s direct payment consultation opened in December there have been vigorous debates about how farm payments should be made.
“It is essential that we build up as detailed a picture as possible of the likely effect of these CAP reforms along with the views of those who will be at the front line of the changes.
“That is why I am extending the deadline for responding to our direct payment consultation to March 28, 2014. This will be followed in April by a series of meetings with key stakeholders and this programme of engagement will further inform my decision-making.
“Even though we have until August 1 to take final decisions, I am aware of the need for Scottish farmers to have clarity on the shape of the new CAP sooner rather than later which is why I am aiming to announce my decisions by the end of June this year.
“I cannot stress strongly enough, however, that no decisions have yet been taken - nothing is set in stone. I urge everyone who has not already responded to the consultation to take the opportunity to do so, and I will shortly be writing to farmers to encourage them to make sure they have their say.
“The Scottish Government consultation covers a number of important issues and for some I have merely set out our options while for others I express a preference, such as a transition to area-based payments by 2019. Our ready reckoner is a useful tool to illustrate how these suggestions might work in practice but it is important to bear in mind that it calculates how payments might look in 2019, at the end of our proposed transition, and not payments on day one of the new CAP.”
ThePigSite News Desk