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New Support For Scottish Beef Producers

02 August 2011

SCOTLAND, UK - A new Scottish Beef Scheme will be introduced from January 1, 2012 to ensure support payments to the beef sector continue until new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) regulations come into force.

The scheme will help some of Scotland's most vulnerable beef producers by targeting payments towards small farms in hills and other less favoured areas, where agricultural conditions are very poor.

It replaces the Scottish Beef Calf Scheme which can no longer continue under CAP legislation.

Speaking at the Turriff Show, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said:"Beef production is a crucial part of Scotland's agriculture, and Scotch Beef is renowned across the globe.

Yet despite strong demand, many producers struggle to make a profit - especially those with smaller extensive herds in less favoured areas.

"It was therefore essential that I took action to secure continued support for beef producers in the Scottish hills, and I am grateful for the advice given by stakeholders on how to achieve this.

"The new Scottish Beef Scheme allows us to target funding towards smaller herds through reweighted payment levels, so that the first ten eligible calves receive three times the payment rate for any subsequent calf. This will benefit the majority of claimants and is in line with the recommendations of the Pack Inquiry."

"To avoid unnecessary burdens on producers we are making the minimum changes needed to ensure the new scheme complies with EU requirements. Importantly we have ensured that funding continues at current levels until new CAP regulations come into force.

The Scottish Beef Calf Scheme (SBCS) was introduced in 2005 to protect and enhance the environment by supporting quality cattle grazing, particularly in remote and fragile areas. CAP Health Check reforms in 2008 allowed the SBCS to continue until 2012.

For support to continue beyond that, any new scheme has to be compatible with measures set out under Article 68 of the Health Check Regulation (EC) 73/2009. This means it must be targeted at specific disadvantages, and in the beef sector it is hill producers who continually struggle to make a profit.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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