Wales and Scotland apprehensive over CAP reform

Farming leaders in Scotland and Wales have warned of their concerns ahead of changes to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Following Tuesday’s statement by the Minister for Natural Resources and Food, which set out the framework for how the Welsh Government intends to implement direct subsidy payments from 1 January 2015, National Farmers Union Cymru said that nearly every farming business in Wales would be affected.   

The union was seeking to impress on the Minister the importance of carefully managing the changes, so as to cause minimum disruption.

Ed Bailey, NFU Cymru president, said: “Welsh Government, with advice from industry stakeholders, undertook significant modelling work during the second half of 2012, this work showed that a four-rate model delivered a workable scheme that was the ‘best fit’ in terms of minimising disruption as much as is possible for the diverse range of farming businesses the length and breadth of Wales.

“By opting not to take this approach forward, the Minister has committed to a payment rate system that will see more redistribution than would otherwise have been the case with this option.”

Meanwhile, the Scottish Beef Association (SBA) has warned that many upland beef farmers could struggle with the new CAP deal, with some beef producers set to lose as much as half of their current Single Farm Payment (SFP) once the reform kicks in.

Chairman Scott Henderson said: “I am hearing some scary reports from SBA members who are set to lose up to 50% – €200 (£166) a cow – of their SFP in the new regime.

“These active farms are the backbone of the Scottish beef herd and it is vital we get a handle on the number of farms affected, so we can take this to the Scottish Government.”

The new chair for Farming Union in the Scottish Highlands, Jim Whiteford, also expressed concern.

He said: “The pressure on those who stock our hills and uplands with cattle and sheep remains intense and we must make sure that the move to a new area-based support system stabilises rather than undermines livestock numbers in the region.”

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