EU - NFU Scotland’s President Nigel Miller and its Chief Executive Scott Walker used their time in Brussels to meet with fellow farming unions and Commission officials to investigate how new CAP schemes are being introduced in other member states.
The Union has, this week, raised concerns that Scottish Government implementation plans, some of which have yet to be shared with producers, will fall short of industry expectations. Transition measures for established businesses, unless changed, will not deliver the promised ‘soft landing’ and some new and developing businesses may not be catered for under plans for a National Reserve.
The Union also participated in a meeting with new Agricultural Commissioner Phil Hogan, organised by COPA COGECA – the umbrella organisation for farming unions and co-operatives.
NFU Scotland Chief Executive Scott Walker said: “We harbour genuine concerns over how Scotland plans to introduce the new CAP scheme in 2015 with transition measures for established businesses and national reserve support for some new and developing businesses falling far short of original promises.
“This trip offered up an opportunity to meet with fellow farmers from other nations as well as Commission officials to discuss a host of issues around CAP. Others have taken a different path on implementation and we will engage in further discussions with Scottish Government officials shortly to see if its plans can be improved to better serve our farmers.
“At yesterday’s meeting with Commissioner Hogan, it was apparent from the contributions made by farming unions from all member states that implementation of the new CAP is proving far more challenging than was expected.
“Earlier this week Commissioner Hogan made it clear that he will not postpone the introduction of greening measures in 2015. Given implementation issues across Europe and the complexities associated with the new schemes, many farming representatives, including NFU Scotland, called for the Commissioner to allow for greater flexibility within the inspection process and a proportionate response when unintentional errors are found on farm.
“We welcome the fact that Commissioner Hogan has promised an early review of greening and from Scotland’s perspective, it is essential that this delivers improvements in rules attached to ecological focus areas and crop diversity, also known as the three-crop rule.
“The greening review chimes with his ambitions on simplification. Commissioner Hogan went on record shortly after his appointment, promising to deliver a simplification agenda that has the potential to strip away much of the unnecessary bureaucratic pressure placed on farm businesses. He stated yesterday that his simplification programme would not deliver a ‘big bang’ change but that he aimed to achieve steady progress in this area.
“That dovetails with Brian Pack’s review of agricultural red tape in Scotland and opens the door to driving meaningful change in the plethora of rules and regulations that plague the farming sector.”
TheCropSite News Desk