SCOTLAND - The European Union has ruled out Scotland front-loading payments made under the new Beef Calf Scheme that would have supported smaller beef producers, crofters and new entrants.
The Union successfully argued for additional voluntary coupled support to be made available to the beef sector under the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP); with separate schemes for producers on the mainland and those in the islands.
Within those schemes, NFUS supported payments being front-loaded to the first 10 calves, assisting new or smaller beef farmers.
The Scottish Government CAP announcement in the summer suggested that payments would be front loaded with the first 10 calves receiving double the payment rate with the single rate paid on subsequent calves.
However, European rules around the new CAP stipulate that coupled schemes can only deliver a single payment rate. As a result, Scotland will operate two beef schemes.
It is estimated that, depending on level of claims, the mainland scheme will pay a flat rate of around €100 per calf while calves that qualify under the islands scheme will receive a flat rate of approximately €160 per calf.
Having been notified by the Scottish Government on Europe’s decision, the Union has already met European Commission (EC) officials in Brussels to discuss the issue. It may be that any mid-term review of the new CAP will present an opportunity to revisit rules around such beef schemes.
NFU Scotland President Nigel Miller said: “We successfully campaigned for additional voluntary support for our iconic beef sector and for that support scheme to recognise the additional costs incurred by island producers.
"That approach has always included the call for payments to be front loaded – both in the mainland and the island schemes - to the benefit of smaller producers, whether they be crofters, farmers with small beef herds or new entrants."
TheCattleSite News Desk