Thu, 03 May 2018
SCOTLAND, UK - NFU Scotland has welcomed the news that payments worth £38 million to Scottish beef producers will arrive in farmers' bank accounts in the coming weeks, easing cash flow worries.
Faced with a long, wet winter and a cold, damp spring, NFU Scotland had asked the Scottish Government to consider bringing forward payments made under the Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme (SSBSS) to help with cash flows. A similar request has been made on behalf of hill sheep farmers who benefit from payments under the Scottish Upland Sheep Support Scheme (SUSSS).
Favourable exchange rates have helped to boost the value of payments being made under the beef calf scheme to £99.49 per animal for Mainland beef calves and £144.22 per animal for Island beef calves. However, the number of animals claimed under the scheme has declined from 395,000 in 2015 to 387,000 in 2017.
NFU Scotland’s Livestock committee chairman Charlie Adam, who keeps beef cows in Aberdeenshire, said: "Scotland’s iconic beef sector is a central pillar of our successful food and drink industry. The beef calf scheme helps ensure that producers around the country are encouraged to keep producing beef calves to underpin the production of quality Scotch beef.
"Given the weather endured in the past six months or more, that has been very challenging with bank accounts being drained to keep on top of rising feeding and bedding bills.
"Having this money heading into bank accounts ahead of schedule is a very welcome development. Our hill sheep sector faces the same challenges and we will continue to urge the Scottish Government to bring forward the timetable for payments made under SUSSS.
"The value of such support cannot be underestimated. Beef calf scheme claims are down and suckler cow numbers have been slipping, raising concerns about our capacity to produce quality beef going forward. If we are to maintain our beef production in the post-Brexit era, then returns for suckled calf producers must be maintained or increased."