Scottish agriculture and wider rural development consultation launched
The next stage in making Scotland a global leader in sustainable and regenerative agriculture has been launched.
People are being urged to take part in a consultation on the Scottish Government's forthcoming Agriculture Bill.
The Scottish Government climate change plan has committed to reducing agricultural emissions by 31% by 2032.
The consultation covers a range of key themes including:
- high quality food production;
- ensuring a fair income for farmers;
- environmental care with powers and other mechanisms to allow future payments to farmers, crofters and land managers to support delivery of national climate change adaptation objectives;
- nature restoration and protecting biodiversity;
- vibrant rural areas;
- protect food and health quality;
- fostering knowledge and innovation.
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “We are supporting our farmers, crofters and land managers to produce more high quality and sustainable food, as well as ensuring our food system is more resilient.
“The fact is that high quality food production is very much a part of meeting our net zero targets and dealing with the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.
“We have ambitious targets and right across the agriculture sector we have the talent and skills to meet our aims.
“I would urge people from all walks of life to get involved and make their views known – these issues affect us all.”
Other proposals include plans to develop resilient and thriving rural and island communities including financial support for rural development and the rural economy which will be of particular interest to those involve in the former Community Led Local Development (CLLD) scheme, LEADER.
Measures to modernise tenant farming are explored, such as providing tenant farmers with the same opportunity to adapt to the future as the rest of Scottish agriculture, which would allow them to play their part in supporting biodiversity and undertake mitigation and adaptation measures.
Proposals to ensure Fair Work conditions, including the real Living Wage, are applied to all Scottish agricultural workers are also part of the consultation. Livestock is an important part of the food chain and views are also sought on making subsidy payments that establish minimum standards for animal health and welfare.
The consultation will include a series of online and in-person events to gather the views of stakeholders and members of the public which the Scottish Rural Network are support development of (we will publicise the dates once arrangements and event programmes are finalised).
The consultation is open for responses until 21 November.
A new Agriculture Bill is expected in 2023 to enable the delivery of the Scottish Government’s Vision for Agriculture (published in March 2022).
Over the past decade, agricultural output in Scotland has risen by 27% overall, to £2.7 billion in 2019 - excluding subsidy.