Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf confirmed at the NFU Scotland conference that funding for Tiers 1 and 2 of Scotland’s new agricultural policy will make up at least 70% of the funding envelope from 2027.
The confirmation came following NFU Scotland president Martin Kennedy’s address to conference delegates, which saw Kennedy announce his five asks of Scottish Government.
In response to Kennedy, who urged Government to return the £61 million of deferred funding and scrap the Bute House agreement, First Minister Humza Yousaf confirmed that funding for Tiers 1 and 2 will constitute a minimum of 70% of the overall funding envelope to support farming, crofting and land management from 2027.
Yousaf also said that funding for the replacement of the Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme will be available through Tier 2 once the replacement scheme is decided.
“Of course, we don’t have certainty from the UK Government in terms of funding commitments from 2025,” said Yousaf. “We need clarity from the UK Government about the future of rural funding after 2025.
“As it stands, we don’t have any idea what the Conservatives, or more likely the incoming Labour Government, are going to do in that regard, so we’ll continue to press Westminster for that.”
Kennedy said: “We welcome the First Minister delivering clarity on future levels of support to be delivered under Scotland’s future agricultural policy.
“Equally important was the First Minister’s recognition of the economic importance of our sector and his stated ambition that he wants to see our production of high quality food and drink grow. That needs farming and crofting to be at the heart of the new agricultural policy and this Tier 1 and Tier 2 funding announcement is a lobbying success for NFU Scotland.”
He went on to say that funding in Tiers 3 and 4 would be “vital” in providing support for businesses, and highlighted NFU Scotland’s plan to work with Government to ensure funding is accessible.
Wales dissatisfied with farming policy changes
The announcement regarding the funding in Scotland comes as farmers in Wales have protested the latest consultation on the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS).
The additional changes faced by farmers include mandatory designation of 10% of the land to wildlife conservation and 10% of the land to planting trees. Farmers have expressed dissatisfaction with these measures, with many concerned by the prospect of additional paperwork on top of their workload.