‘Significant progress’ made in achieving stability for farmers and crofters in Scotland’s LFA

A recent review, undertaken by NFU Scotland Less Favoured Areas (LFA) Committee, has identified significant progress in achieving stability for farmers and crofters in Scotland’s hardiest rural areas.

The review outlines achievements since the publication of NFU Scotland’s policy document ‘Less Favoured Areas – Delivering for Scotland’, in October last year.

Led by the union’s LFA Committee, the document outlined policy proposals needed to ensure Scottish LFA farms and crofts continue to deliver for the rural economy, local jobs, world-famous landscapes and biodiversity, carbon sequestration and storage, thriving communities and cultural heritage.

The review has identified positive progress in terms of securing the future of support available through the Less Favoured Areas Support scheme (LFASS).

In particular, it highlighted the effective reinstatement of LFASS 2020 support levels to 100% of funds available in 2018 and the guaranteed retention of LFASS from 2021 to 2024.

Progress on coupled schemes

The committee welcomed the progress made in ensuring proportionality for penalties in relation to vital voluntary coupled schemes such as the Scottish Upland Sheep Support Scheme (SUSSS) and the Scottish Suckler Beef Calf Scheme (SSBSS).

LFA Committee chairman Robert Macdonald said: “This review of LFA policy has identified that significant progress has been made by NFU Scotland in delivering stability to LFA businesses in the coming years.

“That stability is vital to ensure that farmers and crofters can plan and invest.

We have reviewed the engagement undertaken by NFUS to promote the policies agreed by the LFA Committee and utilised multiple channels to communicate those committee priorities to key decision makers and members.

“The positive outcomes delivered through discussions with the Scottish government are welcome and we look to extend those to other policy priorities going forward.

“In last year’s policy document, the committee outlined the need to rebase LFASS if we are to target that precious support more effectively.

“We are also looking to have concerns around the ewe hogg scheme addressed and would welcome progress in these areas,” he concluded.