A Sustainable And Profitable Future For Scottish Agriculture

NFU Scotland lays out strategic policy priorities and key asks.

Industry news
Published: 14/02/2024

In its pursuit of a sustainable and profitable future for Scottish farmers and crofters, NFU Scotland has set out its policy priorities and key asks.

In a document launched at the Union’s National Conference and AGM in Glasgow last week (8 and 9 February), the Union has identified eight strategic policy goals. If delivered on, this will enable farmers and crofters to deliver the economic, environmental and social outcomes which governments and communities aspire to.

It states that delivery on these priorities is essential as a successful and prosperous Scottish agricultural industry is key to a successful and prosperous Scotland.  Agriculture is the backbone of Scotland’s wider food and drink industry – a sector that’s worth £16 billion to the Scottish economy, employs 130,000 people, and supports Scotland’s national reputation on the world stage.

The priorities and asks are:

  • Future Support - Activity driven, accessible and adequately funded measures.
  • Fairer Supply Chains - Improved margins in existing and new markets.
  • Rural Economy - Opportunities for enterprise and business development.
  • Better Regulation - Legislation that is enabling and proportionate.
  • Public Perception - Connect with people to change perceptions.
  • Effective Conservation - Balance in the delivery of biodiversity.
  • Optimal Land Use - An integrated approach to land management.
  • Climate Change - Recognition and reward for climate actions.

Launching the document in front of 400 delegates, NFU Scotland’s Director of Policy Jonnie Hall said: “Whilst there have been many changes in farming and crofting over the years, the one thing that has remained consistent is our steadfast commitment to supporting our members and the relentless pursuit of a better future for Scotland’s farmers and crofters.  As a result, our vision is clear: A sustainable and profitable future for Scottish agriculture.

“Scottish agriculture is under severe pressure. In recent years, farmers and crofters have faced spiralling costs of production, continuing labour shortages and more extreme and volatile weather, whilst output prices across most commodities have remained static at best. Margins continue to be under significant pressure as supply chains and market behaviours are driven by food prices as retailers focus on consumers rather than primary producers.

“As farmers and crofters seek to respond to these challenges, they also face an unprecedented level of policy and regulation as Governments in both Holyrood and Westminster pursue agendas to tackle significant social and environmental issues which Scotland’s farmers and crofters are uniquely placed to respond to.

“As the dominant land use in Scotland, active farming and crofting is the key to helping meet climate and biodiversity needs while underpinning rural communities and producing food of the highest quality.

“The next few years will be pivotal for Scotland’s farmers and crofters. If the Scottish and UK Governments, and their agencies, take a positive and pragmatic approach to our eight priorities and 34 key policy asks it will enable a sustainable and profitable future for Scottish agriculture – not least for the next generation and beyond. In turn, this will support thriving communities, given their economic and social reliance on the industry.”

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