22nd September 2019
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Farmers to demand policy change at Holyrood

Farmers will be gathering at Holyrood on Tuesday to demand change in farming policy.

Producers are due to meet MSPs from all major parties in a bid to press home the need for measures to address climate change and biodiversity loss – while safeguarding long-term food production.

It comes on the first anniversary of the Scottish Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN).

Last year Cunningsburgh farmer Hazel Mackenzie, of Aithsetter, was named as one of two Scottish producers on a 12-strong steering group.

Isles MSP Tavish Scott said it was important to mark the network’s first year.

“Agriculture is a crucial Scottish industry from Shetland to Stranraer,” he said.

“The Scottish NFFN have a central role in influencing the future of support and policy that will affect crofters and farmers in the years ahead.

“This anniversary is important for that reason – our future is very much at stake.”

Agriculture is said to be one of the largest emitters of CO2 and the wider industry poses a challenge to Scottish government aims to reach CO2 targets by 2050.

Chairman of NFFN Scotland, Michael Clarke, said: “There has never been a more critical time for government to act and empower farmers to tackle climate change and future food security.

“We know the Scottish government recognises the scale of that challenge and we want to work with them to help develop and roll out workable, farmer-friendly policies which will deliver for all farmers and crofters and for the people of Scotland.”

NFFN Scotland have put together four key policy asks for MSPs:

• Clarity on a future land use policy for Scotland which supports and rewards farmers and crofters based on the environmental benefits they deliver.

• A recognition that productivity must be underpinned by environmental sustainability to ensure long-term food security.

• All Scottish public bodies lead by example, supporting sustainable and nature-friendly Scottish food production.

• Future trade deals must not undercut the high agricultural and environmental standards delivered by farmers.

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