Thank you for your email – this is a vital topic.
Scottish Labour agrees that how we support agriculture and crofting payments needs to keep food production at the heart farming, as we work to deliver on our climate commitments. Small farms and crofts are a key part of achieving those priorities. Scottish Labour understands the importance of any future support properly recognising the contribution from those farms and crofts that are currently below the minimum eligibility threshold of 3 hectares for support and will press for this to be addressed in the forthcoming Agriculture Bill.
Since the departure from the EU, the clock has been ticking towards the end of the transition period and we have been pressing the Scottish Government to set out their plans for future rural support schemes urgently. Instead, the SNP Government has kicked the issue into the long grass again and again, despite farmers, crofters and all other Parties across the parliamentary Chamber calling for a timeline and plan to be released.
Farming and crofting are long term industries and need to know as soon as possible what the future farm payment scheme will look like.
Scottish Labour supports your calls for climate and biodiversity-enhancing, sustainable, resilient food-producing farms and crofts to be better protected and valued. My colleagues, Colin Smyth MSP, the spokesperson for Net Zero and Rural Affairs, and Mercedes Villallba MSP, the Labour member on the Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment Committee, are committed to working to ensure this is included in the upcoming Agriculture Bill.