Scottish beef farmers encouraged to apply for beef support scheme

Beef farmers in Scotland have been urged to apply for the Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme ahead of the 31 December deadline.

The scheme has been designed to help maintain beef suckler herds at a level that sustains the commercial beef industry in Scotland.

Applications can be made online through the rural payments website or on paper.

Changes will be made to the scheme in 2017 to make all dual-purpose breeds eligible. Any eligible animal born after 2 December 2014 that has fulfilled the requirements of the scheme can be claimed for, even if they have been sold or died. Subsequently, dual-purpose farmers whose cattle become eligible next year can back-date claims for calves born since the scheme opened.

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) Scotland said the government intends to amend the rules in 2017 so that calves whose mothers are milked will no longer be eligible.

“We are keen for all farmers who are eligible for the scheme to make their applications before the deadline at the end of the month,” said Charlie Adam, NFU Scotland’s livestock committee chairman.

“If you are uncertain about your eligibility then I would urge you to contact your local department office. As farm prices are squeezed this coupled support payment is vital for Scotland’s beef producers. Beef production is expensive and this scheme helps target money to farmers who are incurring into costs.

“As Brexit develops we need to maintain our iconic beef industry. These payments offer support which helps to underpin our cattle numbers. This is going to be key if we are to take full advantage of new opportunities.”

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