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30th January 2015
Rural Affairs Secretary announces CAP implementation plan.
The package of measures to support Scottish farming, food production, rural communities and the environment has been announced by Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead.
In a statement to the Scottish Parliament, Mr Lochhead outlined how the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will be implemented in Scotland including plans for direct farm payments and Scotland’s rural development programme between 2015 and 2020.
The new system has been developed following extensive discussions and consultation with industry organisations and the public.
It includes tough new rules to ensure only genuinely active farmers are entitled to direct payments as well as specific support for new entrants, the environment and Scotland’s livestock producers.
The main points announced today include:
* Strict activity requirements that farmers will have to meet to be eligible for direct payments. This will remove land with no agricultural activity from the payment regime, which is currently estimated at 600,000 hectares
* Basic direct farm payments will be capped at around £400,000 per year after labour costs
* Sporting estates will be added to the negative list to exclude them from receiving direct farm payments unless they can prove they are a genuine farm business
* The creation of three payment regions and a coupled support scheme for sheep for producers in the third region
* A five year transition between 2015 and 2019 for the move from historic to area-based farm payments, which is required by Europe. New entrants, who have previously been excluded from receiving direct farm payments, will get the regional average from day one of the new CAP
* A new £45 million three year beef improvement scheme. This is in addition to the 8 per cent coupled support scheme for beef which is being retained. Beef producers on the islands will be eligible for higher coupled support payments than mainland producers, with an uplift of around €65 per calf
* A greener CAP, with farmers being rewarded with Pillar 1 top-up payments for taking action to protect biodiversity and reduce emissions, and confirmation that rural development funding for agri-environment and climate change schemes will increase by more than £10 million per year as proposed in our consultation
* A separate capital grant scheme for crofters in the rural development programme.