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Support for agriculture
The final report of the Pack Inquiry into Future Support for Agriculture in Scotland was published today.
The Inquiry was commissioned by Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead in June 2009 to examine agricultural subsidy and consider how best future support should be tailored to deliver a sustainable sector.
Mr Lochhead said:
"We set out a vision for the agricultural sector in Scotland that is based on a productive, market orientated approach where the industry uses our natural resources sustainably and receives recognition for the many public benefits it provides.
"This analysis supports the Scottish Government's vision and stresses the need to take into account features unique to Scotland. Importantly, it is the product of wide consultation and debate with the agriculture sector and wider rural Scotland.
"It has been one of the most thorough pieces of work ever undertaken into farming support and has already caught the attention of Brussels.
"Today is a hugely important milestone in a long journey, that will include several years of negotiation. I urge stakeholders to look at the big picture and engage with us on the principles the inquiry has set out. I will now carefully reflect on Brian Pack's recommendations and work in partnership with our rural communities to deliver the best outcome for Scotland.
"I pay tribute to Brian Pack and his team. I am confident that this powerful and ambitious report provides the ideal backdrop for some of the big decisions and hard negotiations that lie ahead for Scotland."
The inquiry contains 40 specific recommendations which include:
Basing future support on Less Favoured Area (LFA) Status to compensate farmers for the higher costs involved in meeting regulatory requirements
Farmers in LFA would be eligible for an area-based payment, a top-up payments and headage payments. Farmers in non-LFA would be eligible for area based and a top up payments
Introducing a new Scottish Beef Calf Scheme and lamb headage scheme
A Top Up fund to encourage competitiveness and help farmers tackle food security, climate change, biodiversity, and water and energy supply
A spokesman for the European Commission said:
"We welcome the fact that Scotland has carried out this serious study into what future farm policy should look like.
"The Pack report, and others like it, will make a valuable contribution to Europe's work on the future of the Common Agriculture Policy."
The inquiry was established in June 2009 to provide advice to the Scottish Government on how support to agriculture and rural development could best be tailored to deliver continued agricultural support. Chaired by Brian Pack OBE, the inquiry commissioned several evidence papers, held two public consultations, held several meetings with European and Scottish Government officials and undertook a series of public meetings throughout Scotland. Modelling work was undertaken by the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute and the Scottish Government and short-term recommendations were published in June 2010.