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Support to Agriculture

The Rural Policy Centre has produced a number of publications relating to the future of the agricultural industry and, more specifically, to the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Follow the links below to read about our work on the topic of Support to Agriculture.

Latest Support to Agriculture work

Recommendations to ensure the CAP post-2020 supports insect pollinators (2020)

Insect pollinators continue to decline in Europe despite the Common Agricultural Policy’s increased focus on environmental protection. Pollinator experts from across Europe identified a need to improve the quality of wildlife habitats through more targeted management and a robust monitoring framework. With specific habitats typically not providing all resources pollinators require, landscape level initiatives are required that support a variety of habitats that are complementary in resources offered.

The characteristics of agriculture, the environment and rural communities in Scotland (2018)

Scottish agriculture is very particular and the policy related to it is strongly connected to issues like crofting, constrained land-use, and the European Common Agricultural Policy. 

This briefing discusses the key characteristics of Scottish agriculture and its relationship to the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union. Specifically, on how the policy objectives of Scottish agricultural policy and its outcomes such as supporting production, protecting the environment and population retention will be affected by the United Kindom's exit of the European Union. 

Economic Incentives for conserving the UK's Farm Animal Genetic Resources (FAnGR)

The UK’s Farm Animal Genetic Resources (FAnGR) make an important contribution to food security by ensuring greater adaptive capacity within the UK livestock sector to grand challenges including climate change and emerging diseases. Some 75% of the UK’s native breeds are now threatened with extinction so it is necessary to develop conservation programmes to ensure that food security is not undermined.

This briefing explores an alternative approach to complement existing conservation approaches by fostering conservation agreements with breed societies. Employing multi-criteria decision-analysis to differentiate funding for conservation activities may improve the cost effectiveness of investments in preserving rare breed diversity.

Supporting supply chains in rural Scotland: Key issues and messages for policy and research (2017)

Whilst supply chains remain vitally important to various organisations, people, activities, and resources across rural Scotland, their effectiveness is often hampered considerably by issues including inefficiencies, silo-working and lack of capacity in rural areas. Further, Brexit has also conferred a great deal of uncertainty to almost every industry. This underscores the importance of improving and integrating management processes to ensure that supply chains are able to successfully adapt to the changing times.

Scottish Sheep farming post 2015 CAP reforms: Assessing response under payment scenarios (2016)

Sheep at KirktonFor around 70% of 55 Scottish breeding sheep farms sampled, the new CAP reforms are predicted to improve their financial positions, by 2019 compared to 2010/11 figures. In many cases this is as a result of an increase in support payments per hectare of eligible land through the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS). The Voluntary Coupled Support (Sheep) scheme (VCSS) also appears to help improve returns to farms with Region 3 land.


Scottish Dairy farming post 2015 CAP reforms and farmer intentions: Assessing farmer response under changing payment scenarios (2016)

Cows head closeupFor Scottish dairy farms, the new CAP reforms will tend to reduce profitability and net margins. However, this is predicted to have little impact on output or structural change within the industry as other factors such as milk price are more important drivers of structural change.


Use of the Welfare Quality® assessment protocol in the Scottish Dairy Industry (2016)

Cows feeding, DumfriesThe Welfare Quality® protocol for assessing on-farm animal welfare (the outcome of an EU-funded research project) is impractical to apply in its current form due to the length of time it requires. However, most of the individual welfare measures are valid and practical to apply, suggesting that there is potential for a subset of measures to be used to create a customized assessment system.



Dr Jane Atterton

Rural Policy Centre Manager and Policy Researcher

Address: Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Peter Wilson Building, Kings Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG.

Telephone: 0131 535 4256

Fax: 0131 535 4345