CAP set to dominate union council meeting

Stagehall farmer Nigel Miller, the new  president of N.F.U. Scotland.
Stagehall farmer Nigel Miller, the new president of N.F.U. Scotland.
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Land reform and the tenancy review may be on the agenda, but the CAP was set to dominate NFU Scotland’s annual council meeting yesterday.

As The Southern went to press, Scottish farmers at the meeting near Perth were set to hear from English and Irish farming union representatives how the CAP reform package is progressing in their countries.

The visiting representatives will talk about what payment models are being considered and how ‘greening’ is being implemented.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, NFU Scotland president Nigel Miller said: “With Scotland’s consultations on future CAP implementation and rural development measures looming, it is worth taking time to see how other nations are responding.

“In England, where direct support is already being delivered on an area basis, we can explore how farmers have reacted to that change, but also look at how proposals to shift funds from direct support to rural development measures are being received by farmers there.

“In Ireland, where future support arrangements are likely to include an element of coupling to livestock, we also want to look at the ‘Irish Tunnel’ model on how we might manage the transition of existing business to the CAP support new regime.”

Land reform will be discussed as Scottish Cabinet secretary Richard Lochhead plans to review tenant farming legislation and a Land Reform Review Group is already established.

Dr Stephen Pathirana, deputy director of the recently-created Land and Tenancy Reform Unit in Scottish Government, will address the meeting.

Mr Miller said: “Talk of land and tenancy reform has been dominating the headlines and a planned ministerial-led review of Agricultural Holdings legislation has been announced. The whole industry is keen to see more information on the remit of the review, the appointment of review group members and the timetable involved.

“To help inform members, Dr Pathirana will outline the consultation plans and survey work that Scottish Government is undertaking as part of that reform process, so we are clearer on how we engage with it as a union.”

In the afternoon the chairmen of the union’s various committees – Milk, Environment and Land Use, Less Favoured Areas, Pigs & Poultry, Livestock, Legal and Technical, Combinable Crops, and Specialist Crops – were expected to lay out their priorities and work schedules.

Meanwhile, farmer and television presenter Adam Henson was at The Lodge, Carfraemill, Lauder, last Thursday when he gave an illustrated talk about his business and the future of farming. He also spoke about his television work and its role in communicating some of farming’s challenges to the wider public.