Scottish farmers’ union welcomes support decision for beef

National Farmers’ Union Scotland (NFUS) has welcomed the Scottish government’s decision to increase coupled support under the Scottish Beef Scheme for farmers.

Coupled payments are linked to a single crop or livestock group to provide a link between payments and production – for example The Scottish Beef Scheme. The support, totalling £22m, is an important boost to the Scottish beef sector, helping to stabilise production and secure throughput for the abattoir sector.

The payment rates are £139.20 (for the first 10 eligible animals) and £46.40 (per eligible animal thereafter). This is a slight increase for farmers, due to a more favourable exchange rate since. Almost 7,500 farmers applied to the Scottish Beef Scheme in 2013, and payments will resume next week.

NFUS president Nigel Miller said: “Beef production is a cornerstone of Scottish agriculture and the Scotch Beef brand enjoys a domestic and international reputation for taste, quality and traceability and its future is worth safeguarding.

“The existing Scottish Beef Scheme currently delivers important, coupled support to active beef farmers. Targeted coupled support is a highly effective way of making the most of precious public funds and a new Beef Scheme post-2015 is virtually a given.

“In our recent submission to the Scottish government on future support arrangements, we suggested changes to the scheme, but totally agreed with coupled support continuing to underpin our beef production.”

NFUS’ submission to Holyrood explained its preferred beef coupled payment would include a flat, fixed rate payment on all calves up to the first 40 claims. A variable rate (determined by the number of claims) would apply to all other eligible calves claimed under the scheme. 

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