Union leaders press Scotland’s case

Nigel Miller

Nigel Miller

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Scottish farming leaders met Defra minister Owen Paterson last week to press the case for Scotland in the final lead-in to CAP reform decisions being made.

NFU Scotland president Nigel Miller and other top union officials met the minister to reiterate Scottish priorities yet to be addressed in concluding discussions between the EU Commission, EU Parliament and member state governments via the EU Council.

Union officials said there remained “deep concerns” about some aspects of greening and the option to use coupled support to help stop the decline in Scotland’s livestock sector.

Stow farmer Mr Miller said: “The flexibility we so desperately seek for our arable farmers has still not been achieved, so we impressed emphatically on Mr Paterson the need to ensure that our limited arable acres will not be devalued by an inappropriate EU straitjacket.

“We re-emphasised the importance of targeting coupled support to producers hit hardest by the move to an area-based payment system.

“We shall reconvene with Mr Paterson and his agriculture minister David Heath at the Royal Highland Show, and continue our close and frequent contact with Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead and his staff too.

“However, as CAP negotiations evolve almost by the day, every opportunity to discuss or impress our key issues face-to-face is invaluable.”

Scotland’s biggest agricultural show, the four-day Royal Highland Show, takes place next Thursday when local farmers, horse owners and other producers often take home their fair share of the ribbons.