Friday, 5 March 2010

Scotland's Farmers Must Be Pleased




Not much, if anything, has been in the Scottish press about the support the Scottish government is giving farmers who have been affected by the severe weather in recent months, so I thought I would bring it to your attention.

Many people forget that there is a strong farming tradition in Scotland, both north and south of the central belt. Our farming communities are vital to the country's economy and this year, being the hardest winter for 50 years, has caused particular hardship to many livestock farmers.

Recently the Rural Affairs Secretary, Richard Lochhead, told the National Farmers Union Scotland that £3 million would be given to the industry to off-set additional costs to farmers forced to move livestock during the depth of winter.

An additional £250,000 is to be give to educate school children across Scotland on the link between farming and the food on their plates. It's a sad state of affairs that many of today's children have no idea of their food sources but the blame lies with parents. There has never been so much information available in my lifetime, yet we have children don't have a clue where a pork chop or a runner bean comes from.

The Scottish government are also providing £1.4 million for land-based skills development and training and almost £400,000 for a five-year development programme to boost the £12 million raspberry industry which has been in declined in recent years due to imports. Scottish raspberries are the best berries in the world and this investment will help the industry upgrade their production processes.

I have pleasure in congratulating the Scottish government for investing in agriculture, not least because it is the mainstay of so many local economies.

14 comments:

Quiet_Man said...

All the English get off the government is the occasional outbreak of foot and mouth from one of Defra's labs :-D

DEREK said...

And we are glad of it!

Wrinkled Weasel said...

I must add my support too. They created good precedent by supporting the fishermen during the diesel price hikes.

Anything that teaches kid the link between fluffy lambs and kofta kebabs gets my vote.

tris said...

The trouble is that the good news stories about teh government are not publicised.

I think that bloggers do a good job of rectifying this, but it can't make up for the doom and gloom that the papers and the BBC spread.

Well done for highlighting it SR.

subrosa said...

We were hurt by that too here QM yet we didn't have one case. Westminster refused to compensate us either so, if I remember, the SG gave £3m to the farmers.

The SNP are aware farming, fishing etc are the lifeblood of the country and I have to admit they've always given them full support.

subrosa said...

Derek, seems like you're in the business. Every little helps as they say and I don't think the people can object to you getting a little help.

subrosa said...

Isn't it sad that WW that we have to teach children where a lamb chop or a leek comes from? Even although I was brought up in a city we learned about meat from the butcher (with his array of rabbits, pheasants etc hanging in his window and used to scare me to death) and we learned about vegetables from parents and friends.

I was lucky and my grandad had an allotment so I saw it all there.

subrosa said...

That's true Tris. This wasn't from a newspaper, it was from my MSP's constituency newsletter.

Sandy said...

Thanks for highlighting this SR. It is farmers and fishermen that put food on everyones tables after all.

If we can not produce our own food what hope is there for us as a country ? Any help given to these people is welcome.

Much better for us than frittering away billions on foreign wars and nuclear deterrents.

subrosa said...

Hi Sandy. It's one of these good news stories that the Scottish press would never report. Puts a little faith back in politicians doesn't it.

JRB said...

Mmm …

I wouldn’t go and get too excited by all this.

The £3m announced by the Environmental and Rural Affairs secretary, Mr Richard Lochhead, in his ‘Severe Weather Grant’ only covers the basic emergency re-housing of stock where buildings have collapsed under the weight of snow, but only during the period 28th December to 31st January. Any such event out-with those dates is not covered.
The grant does not allow for the repair or permanent reinstatement of the damaged building, that cost is down to the farmer.

Equally during this period of severe winter weather, livestock farmers have had to meet unprecedented bills for fodder to maintain the animals’ welfare. Most farmers are having to buy in addition feed to see them through this weather. The price of hay and concentrated feeds has rocketed.

As a direct consequence of this period of weather it can only be assumed that the spring lamb crop will be considerably reduced. Similarly, for spring calving.

All this considerable addition cost for extra feed and reduced returns has to be borne by the farmer. There is no grant to make up the considerable losses they face.

Delighted to hear there is some cash for education, and good luck to the soft fruit industry.

But, please, spare a thought for the poor livestock farmer.

What the government is offering is not as generous as you might think.

subrosa said...

The newsletter didn't have the dates John but you can understand there would have to be some limit on it. If I remember those were the days when more snow fell on existing snow here.

As I understood it the money was to off-set the costs of moving livestock. Knowing farmers as I do, they'd never build another shed if they thought the government would pay for a new one. :)

I do sympathise with the livestock farmer and spoke to one today. He admits the offer isn't generous but it's more than was ever offered previously by governments (which was nil) and would help in a small way to off-set costs. His worry is his lamb stock. As you say the ewes have suffered badly this winter.

So yes, it's not an extravagant gesture from government but it's at least a recognition that the farming industry are important to the country's wellbeing.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

To be fair to the SNP government any help of this sort has to be taken from the pot they're allowed to piss in by Westminster. And that includes the collateril effects of Westminster's incompetence on it.

Farmers do get allowances for the repair or replacement of agricultural buildings by, if nothing else, claiming for capital cost relief against tax liabilities.

Farming has always battled with the natural elements, it's the fickle blasts and famines of bureaucracy and markets that cause confusion and depression.

Farmers, perhaps better than most, are quite capable of moving with the times; but trying to keep upright while dancing a jig in a vortex without any recognition or reward for your skill and effort eventually destroys the soul.

I'm 100% with Rosa on this one.

On a lighter note.

Now all the SNP needs to do is buy out Celtic and Rangers and state they're going all out to win the World Cup in 2016 ( or whenever it is) and we could be independent by August!

subrosa said...

Now there's a fine idea RA. Do hope some SNP members spread the word!

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