A taskforce representing 20 farming organisations is urging the Scottish government to engage with the industry to ensure a successful agricultural policy.

The Food and Agriculture Stakeholders Taskforce (FAST) welcomed Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon’s updates during her speech at the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) Scotland conference on Friday (February 10), however it said more detail and engagement is needed.

“This is no panacea, but it does give us the best insight into Scottish Government’s future plans for farming to date,” Teresa Dougall, FAST rotating chair and managing director at Scottish Quality Crops (SQC) said.

“However, we’d once again urge the government to better engage with the industry to get it right.

“Poor or ill-informed decisions on future financial and policy support could destabilise and damage primary production businesses, negatively impacting the wider supply chain at the same time. 

“We are calling again for greater co-design with industry, which the government has said it wants, and better communication on the details so businesses can plan ahead.”

The group has invited ministers and civil servants for dicussions; Gougeon is set to meet with the taskforce in March.

FAST was formed in autumn 2022 in response to what it says has been “lack of clear communication and engagement” from the Scottish government and the sector regarding policy developments.

It comprises:

  • Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC);
  • Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland (IAAS);
  • National Beef Association (NBA);
  • National Sheep Association Scotland (NSA Scotland);
  • NFU Scotland (NFUS);
  • Quality Meat Scotland (QMS);
  • Ringlink (Scotland);
  • Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS);
  • Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RSABI);
  • Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society Ltd (SAOS);
  • Scottish Agritourism;
  • Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW);
  • Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC);
  • Scottish Beef Association (SBA);
  • Scottish Craft Butchers;
  • Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF);
  • Scottish Land & Estates (SLE);
  • Scottish Pig Producers (SPP);
  • Scottish Quality Crops (SQC);
  • Scottish Tenant Farmers Association (STFA).