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Friday, December 9, 2022

Ambitious Future for Rural Scotland

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National Test Programme announced.

Farmers and crofters are to be supported to play their part in Scotland becoming a global leader in sustainable and regenerative agriculture.

A National Test Programme will begin next spring, with up to £51 million of investment over the following three years.

The Programme will support and encourage farmers and crofters to learn about how their work impacts on climate and nature, including offering financial support to carry out carbon audits and nutrient management plans.

This will establish a clear baseline and options for action for all who participate.

Through work with a focus group of farmers and crofters, the Programme will also help understanding of how sustainable farming can be supported and rewarded in future.

This will ensure the right tools and support are in place when, from 2025, the climate and biodiversity performance of businesses will determine the level of agricultural support payments. 

In addition, the Programme will put in place livestock data and performance systems for businesses in the beef sector with the aim of improving both business and emissions performance.

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon (pictured) outlined the Programme as she addressed the AGM of the National Farmers’ Union of Scotland, where she also set out the Scottish Government’s vision for the future of agriculture in Scotland.

Ms Gougeon paid credit to the many farmers who are already taking action to address the climate and nature crises.

The Rural Affairs Secretary said:

“The key to change, to succeeding in doing so, is by working together, listening and learning along the way.

“You have played such a key role in our past and you are vital to our future.

“We will not successfully address the twin crises of climate change and nature without you.

“We are embarking on a journey of transformation.

“There will be challenges on the way, there are risks, and there will be tough decisions to be made by us all, but there are also huge opportunities if we want to make them and take them.

“We can be global leaders in sustainable agriculture – we can set the global benchmark for what regenerative agriculture actually means. 

“We will produce more of our food more sustainably, we will deliver climate mitigation and adaptation, we will restore nature and protect and enhance biodiversity, and our success will mean we get to pass to future generations, a land, a climate and a country that works for their benefit and for the benefit of the whole planet.”

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