SRUC policy experts help map out farmer-led delivery model

The proposals aim to deliver on food production, climate change and biodiversity ambitions.


SRUC has contributed to an NFU Scotland roadmap on how Scottish agricultural policy will meet the challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss while contributing to Scotland’s ambitious food and drink sector targets.

Working with policy experts, NFUS has distilled the concepts and principles from the Scottish Government’s Farmer-led Climate Change Groups (FLGs) and the Union’s own ‘Steps to Change’ proposals to design a “uniquely Scottish future agricultural policy framework that will deliver the outcomes required”.

Steven Thomson, Senior Agricultural Economist at SRUC, NFUS’s Director of Policy Jonnie Hall and Dr Andrew Moxey from Pareto Consulting unveiled the proposals for a future agricultural support framework this week.

The proposals aim to deliver on food production, climate change and biodiversity ambitions simultaneously.

NFUS says the policy approach recognises the complexity of current agricultural businesses and the need for a single coherent policy framework that has flexibility in delivery across all sectors, farm business types and sizes, and geographies in Scotland.

The basis for support is ‘how’ production is undertaken, rather than ‘how much’, and such an approach will continue to safeguard the rural economy while also meeting recognising the urgency of tackling emissions and addressing biodiversity loss. NFUS and FLGs recognise that agriculture can and should contribute to achieving these goals, as does the Farming for 1.5 Degrees Final Report - where Steven was also a panel member.

Steven Thomson said: “This piece builds on the work that Andrew Moxey and I have done for the Scottish Government over the last year. It provides a uniquely Scottish framework for future support that can help agriculture deliver more ‘public goods for public monies’. The scale of the changes required in policy, and in day-to-day farming and crofting practices, cannot be underestimated if we are to help deliver on climate and biodiversity priorities.

“While the approach differs from Defra’s, I remain convinced this framework can deliver for Scotland, while retaining an element of income support and a focus on food production. Providing reward for those delivering on climate and biodiversity will be vital, with transition support and advice required for those that need to make the steps to change.”

NFUS President Martin Kennedy said: “Scottish agriculture needs direction on a future agricultural policy framework that can enable a ‘just transition’ from where we are today to where we need to be in just a few short years.

“NFU Scotland, working with policy experts, the Farmer-Led Group recommendations and our own ‘Steps to Change’ policy vision has set out a clear transition to a robust and credible Scottish agricultural policy in the future that will initiate and enable change and, crucially, ensure delivery of the food, climate and biodiversity outcomes expected from our industry.”

The report can be downloaded from the NFUS website.

Posted by SRUC on 22/07/2021

Tags: Agriculture, Biodiversity, Climate and Environment, Rural Policy Centre
Categories: Natural Economy