Work begins now reform deal is struck

The Champion Shetland Ewe is Rench Dinah
The Champion Shetland Ewe is Rench Dinah

Scottish politicians and farming leaders have their heads down to work out the best scheme for the country after Common Agricultural Policy reform was agreed in Europe last week.

Two years of negotiation saw the Scottish farmers’ union, led by Stow livestock producer Nigel Miller, gain ground on issues such as minimising redistribution, supporting active farmers, coupling support payments to livestock, bringing in new entrants and recognising the environmental importance of permanent pasture.

In the arable sector, greening proposals were watered down, but requirements on crop diversification and obligations on ecological focus areas may yet undermine the country’s cropping sector, said NFU Scotland.

Mr Miller said: “We have already put teams in place that will look at the big issues for Scotland – regionalisation, coupling of payments, new entrants, transition arrangements and convergence.”

The union would also be looking at rural development and cross-compliance issues, such as land eligibility.

Budgets still have to be ratified, but are likely to be down for 2015 to 2020.

z The champion Shetland at the Royal Highland Show was Patrick and Denise Playfair’s Rench Dinah, out of Rench Dolly by Island Tom, bought at Carlisle two years ago at renowned Broxburn breeder Tom Findlay’s dispersal sale.

It is only the second year the Playfairs of Kaimknowe, Kelso, have shown Shetlands at the Highland. The ewe will be at Kelso show later this month.