Hill Farmers Will See Improved Payments

UK - Scotland's hill farmers will receive a major cash boost in January, confirms the Scottish Government.
calendar icon 27 November 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

A 19 per cent increase in payments under the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS) will take effect in the new year.

With a further 19 per cent rise in the pipeline for next year, the increases are expected to deliver an additional £15 million to active farmers in remote rural areas.

The economic boost follows a review of the Scotland Rural Development Programme earlier this year which signalled changes to ensure support for rural Scotland is targeted where needed most.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead said: "Our hill farmers operate in some of the most difficult economic and geographic conditions. Additional funding will be a welcome boost for them, their businesses and the families and communities they support.

"Further improvements to farming payments can be expected in 2010 to ensure support is targeted to where it's needed most. We are considering further changes to the way LFASS works, along with stakeholders.

"We will also continue to make the case for continued direct support for Scotland's farmers ahead of any changes to the Common Agricultural Policy, highlighting the unique circumstances which face our industry."

Regulations to amend the previous LFASS rates have been signed by the Cabinet Secretary, allowing increased rates of payment to be reflected in the LFASS 2009 payments, due to issue in January 2010.

The Peter Cook review of the Scotland Rural Development Programme recommended increased support for hill farmers, resulting in the decision to increase LFASS 2009 payment rates for "fragile" and "very fragile" by 19 per cent. A further 19 per cent giving a total of 38 per cent from 2010 onwards is also planned. The increases are expected to give around £15 million in additional funding over the next two years to active farmers in those areas.

Further changes to LFASS are being looked at by a government/industry Technical Working Group.

LFASS aims to:

  • Contribute to the maintenance of the countryside, and viable rural communities, by ensuring continued agricultural land use
  • Maintain and promote sustainable farming systems.
It does this by compensating the farmers and crofters who farm in the most disadvantaged areas of Scotland with annual area-based payments.

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