The Scottish Government is currently consulting on a new Agriculture Bill, asking people to give their views on the future of farming. The Bill will consider the shape of our new farming subsidy system, and is an opportunity for both farmers and the general public to contribute to the way farming in Scotland develops now we have left the EU. As part of this consultation process, Arran Eco Savvy and Nourish Scotland held a workshop last month.
Agriculture Bill consultation workshop
Last month Eco Savvy hosted a workshop at the Ormidale Pavilion in Brodick, as part of the official government response to gage the thoughts, opinions and views of the Scottish public on the future of farming. Following the UK’s departure from the EU, the consultation aims to look at the government’s proposals for a new Agriculture Bill which will replace the Common Agricultural Policy from 2023.
The Scottish government’s vision is to be a global leader in sustainable and regenerative agriculture – high quality, locally produced food, relating to themes of – Just Transition, Nature and Climate, People, and High Quality Food. The main question they are seeking views on concerns how we can best use public money to help farmers and crofters to deliver the Scottish government’s vision for agriculture.
During the workshop these themes were discussed in connection with the tier system that the government will implement, whereby farmers will able to access more money depending on standards their farm meets. One view to come out of the conversations amongst the farmers and others attending, was that this vision would only be possible when the subsidies become equally available to all active farmers. At the moment there is a system whereby money goes to the biggest landowners and not necessarily the most productive.
It was strongly felt that there needs to be a non-competitive and flexible system whereby different models of farming will be supported, without farmers competing against each other.
To find out more and contribute your views to this consultation, open until 21st November, follow this link
Restoring nature and transitioning to net zero
The drawing up of a new Agriculture policy could also be a big step for nature and wildlife. Given that nearly. three quarters of Scotland’s land is used for farming, the Bill will have major implications for biodiversity and our transition to net zero. What we do with this land – what we produce on it and how we produce it – has huge impact on our wildlife.
The subsidy reform could ensure we pay farmers to leave room for nature, create wildlife corridors, and grow sufficient diversity of crops to support pollinators. We could pay more to farmers who use less pesticides and antibiotics. We could also encourage them to create and maintain vital carbon sinks in the soils, pastures and peatlands.
Read more about this in the following article Why should you care about the Agriculture Bill? By Anna Chworow on October 10, 2022
To make a strong case for the government to support farmers working to restore nature, a petition to Mairi Gougeion, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, has been organised:
Scotland needs a new farm funding system that works for nature, climate and people. I call on the Scottish government to introduce an agriculture bill that:
• Ensures at least three quarters of public spending on farming supports methods that restore nature and tackle climate change.
• Supports all farmers and crofters in the transition to sustainable farming.
Please see here to sign the petition
Image credits: Nourish Scotland