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Inquiry into agricultural support
Farmers are being urged to have their say on how future financial support for agriculture and rural development should be targeted.
The Inquiry into Future Support for Agriculture in Scotland has announced it wants to gather evidence from as many sources as possible, including individual farmers and industry bodies.
The membership of the inquiry, being chaired by Brian Pack, has also been announced.
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead, who announced the inquiry earlier this year, said:
"We are at an important stage in shaping the future of agriculture in Scotland. Work is underway in Europe to reshape the Common Agricultural Policy post 2013 and we must ensure Scotland is well-positioned in these negotiations.
"The inquiry will play a huge part in deciding what we want future financial support to look like. We need to ensure it continues it continues to deliver sustainable economic growth while addressing emerging challenges such as food security and climate change. The recommendations from Brian's Inquiry will play a significant part in that decision making process".
Mr Pack added:
"I am delighted with the range of talents and expertise on the inquiry team and am looking forward to the challenge ahead."
The inquiry team met for the first time last week and, as the first stage in its programme of work, agreed to issue a call for written evidence from interested organisations and individuals. Evidence can be submitted on the Scottish Government website until October 30, 2009.
In addition the inquiry will draw upon relevant statistics, reports, international experiences and research, including the forthcoming findings of the Rural Land Use Study.
An interim report will be published in December 2009 before a public consultation and a series of meetings take place. A final report is due in April 2010.
The inquiry team membership is as follows:
- Brian Pack OBE (Chair) - Former Chief Executive of ANM Group
- Mrs. Wilma Finlay MBE - Managing Director of Cream O'Galloway Dairy Co. Ltd, a farm diversification business employing 19 full-time staff and 35 seasonal staff
- Professor John Grace - Professor of Environmental Biology at the School of Geosciences in the University of Edinburgh
- Johnny Mackey - New entrant to farming, building up a cattle and sheep business, and Breed Secretary for Luing Cattle Society Ltd.
- David MacLeod - Manager of a family farm in Skye, independent rural consultant and member of the Board of the Crofters Commission.
- Steve McLean - Agriculture Manager for Marks and Spencer plc, responsible for the company's livestock supply chains and for interaction between the retailer and its farmer producers.
Mr Pack has already met with officials from the Scottish Government, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Europe as well as European Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel and Paolo De Castro, Chair of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee.