NFU president Martin Kennedy and director of policy Jonnie Hall spoke to the minister raising concerns about the impact of the unprecedented increases in costs for fertiliser, fuel, animal feed, labour and energy seen this year on Scottish farms and crofts.
Given the huge spike in costs and threat to food security, the Union believes a significant and increasingly important factor in the viability and confidence of Scottish agriculture is support budgets beyond 2024/25.
As a priority, NFU Scotland is seeking the continuity of Scotland’s current agricultural and rural funding from UK Government (HM Treasury) beyond 2024/25 and calling on Scottish Government to ring fence that funding to support active farming and crofting through Scotland’s future agricultural policy.
On funding, Scottish agriculture currently receives around £637 million in total with £620m of that currently from HM Treasury.
Speaking after the meeting, NFU Scotland president Martin Kennedy said: “Scotland is in transition away from the CAP to a significantly different and new support framework from 2025 onwards, one that must deliver in terms of food security, climate goals, nature restoration, the wider rural economy and all the jobs that supports.
“While the direction of policy in Scotland is emerging, a bigger unknown and risk is the funding that it will have. There is a degree of certainty about funding and budgets in the short to medium term but the fundamental issue we raised with the Secretary of State is what happens beyond 2024/25.”
The news comes as NFU Scotland welcomed the announcement that pig producers affected by the temporary closure of the abattoir at Brechin last year, and the subsequent suspension of its China export licence, will receive a final tranche of financial support but the wider Scottish pig sector remains on the brink of collapse.