The Scottish government’s budget for 2022-2023 has been published today (Thursday, December 9).

Here’s what has been allocated for the department of Rural Affairs and Islands, of which agriculture falls under:

In what government calls its ‘level 2’ spending plans for 2022-2023, £799.6 million has been allocated to agricultural support and related issues – £4.4 million less than the budget for 2021-2022.

£42.6 million has been allocated to rural services, which is £1.5 million more that last year’s budget; however, because last year’s budget included a special £1 million Covid-19 fund, it could be argued that it is £2.5 million more.

In fact, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes noted this in her statement announcing the budget:

My last two Budgets have been shaped by our experiences of Covid-19 but we are now lifting our eyes to the future. This is a transitional Budget, as people, businesses and services get back on their feet.”

This money comes from a total allocation of £966.8 million for rural affairs and the Islands, and will be further allocated, as per Level 3 spending plans, as follows:

Pillar 1 basic payments (BPS) have been allocated £282 million, the same amount as both last year’s budget and the 2020-2021 (20/21) budget.

Similarly, Pillar 1 Greening and ‘other’ payments have the same budgets as the last two years, of £142 million and £61 million respectively.

Agricultural transformation has been allocated substantially less in this budget; £25 million compared to $45 million last year and £40 million two year’s ago.

Agri-environmental measures has been allocated £35.8 million, slightly higher than the £34.2 million last year, but lower than the £42.7 million in budget 20/21.

Crofting remains unchanged to the last two budgets (£0.8 million) while forestry (in the agricultural budget specifically) has declined once again, to £0.1 million, compared to £0.2 million in last year’s budget and £0.4 million in budget 20/21.

Altogether across other departments, £123 million has been allocated to protect and restore nature, woodland creation and the sustainable management of Scotland’s woodland.

Business development has this coming year been allocated £26 million, Leader £11.6 million, Less Favoured Area Support Scheme £65.5 million (same as budget 21/22) and ARE operations £122.1 million.

A notable increase in fund allocation can been seen in the Technical Assistance fund, which this budget is £4.5 million, £3 million higher than budget 21/22 and £3.9 million higher than budget 20/21.

Under rural services spending, the agricultural and horticultural advice and support budget remains unchanged from the last two budgets (£2.2 million) while the animal health budget has incrementally once again, from £18.9 million in budget 21/22 to £19.6 million.

Food industry support has been allocated £10.5 million as per the last budget, veterinary surveillance £4.9 million (unchanged) and rural economy and communities has been allocated £1.4 million, an increase of one million on last year.