Scottish Secretary sees weather impact

Scottish Secretary sees weather impact

Scottish secretary of state, Michael Moore has been viewing the worrying impact that weather – both at home and abroad – is having on Scottish agriculture.

On a visit to the Peddie family farm at Anstruther in Fife, Mr Moore saw the difficulty the Peddies, like many other arable farmers, were encountering in trying to secure their harvest this autumn because of the wet weather.  He also heard first hand about the severe impact that soaring feed prices – partly driven by drought in other parts of the world – were having on the viability of the farm’s pig enterprise.

The visit, organised by NFU Scotland, also provided the Union with an opportunity to remind the Scottish secretary of other important workstreams – such as CAP Reform and the dairy crisis.  Mr Moore was accompanied by Sir Menzies Campbell MP.

NFU Scotland president, Nigel Miller led an NFUS delegation that included vice presidents Allan Bowie and John Picken, local farmer John Stewart and NFUS chief executive, Scott Walker.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr Miller said: “We welcome the Scottish secretary’s interest in seeing first-hand the short term challenges faced by farmers like Andy Peddie and his family.  Harvest failures in other parts of the world have driven soya prices to more than £430 per tonne and wheat to more than £200.  With market prices for pigs failing to respond to these soaring feed prices, Andy is frank enough to admit that, unless prices improve, his business would be better off without pigs.

“At the same time, wet weather continues to turn the 2012 Scottish harvest into a frustrating stop-start affair for farmers up and down the country. With much of the crop still standing in the field, it means farmers themselves are toiling to think about long term issues such as CAP Reform and what that may mean for Scottish farming businesses. That is why today was so useful as it presented us with another opportunity to tease out some of the major details of the proposed CAP schemes and the flexibility needed for Scottish agriculture when we eventually make the transition from a historic system of payment to an area one.

“The reform process will present a significant challenge for established Scottish farm businesses, many of which could potentially suffer steep reductions to their support payments.  At the same time, new businesses and those currently frozen out by Scotland’s historic-based support system are very vulnerable. Scotland needs a support package that helps us manage the transition to area based payments, recognises the ability through targeted support to protect vulnerable sectors and also, at an early stage, give those currently locked out of support access to the schemes.”

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