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NFU Scotland urges farmers to make voices heard in Brexit negotiations

Andrew McCornick, Allan Bowie and Rob Livesey are all battling it out for the top job.
Andrew McCornick, Allan Bowie and Rob Livesey are all battling it out for the top job.

NFU Scotland has called on everyone working in agriculture to make their voices heard in Brexit negotiations.

President Allan Bowie urged all farmers and crofters to “shout to their MSPs and MPs” about the importance of farming to the economy.

“We want everyone to put a gun to the UK Government’s head and get a nuance that says British food and Scottish food matters. That the fact you go out in the morning and you work hard matters,” said Mr Bowie at the union’s seminar at AgriScot this week.

He called on Scottish Government to give assurances to industry rather than “complete silence”.

“We need the Scottish Government to take the long-term view that focusing on getting the right deal for UK Government with the EU,” added Mr Bowie.

He called on farmers to go out and tell people about what they did.

“We need the consumers and taxpayers to know how you tick,” he added.

Vice-president Rob Livesey expressed disappointment at Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing’s absence from the seminar, but praised the minister for getting money into farmers’ bank accounts earlier this month through the subsidy loan scheme.

He was less in praise of Mr Ewing’s work in reducing greening regulations on farmers and said the Government was not doing enough on the issue.

“In his [Mr Ewing] first few days of office he said he was going to remove all the gold-plating from greening and as of today he has not delivered that,” said Mr Livesey.

“The Scottish Government is trying to be too friendly with the EU and not friendly enough with us – their constituents.”

Vice-president Andrew McCornick called on Government to provide more clarity on elements of new land reform legislation, in particular transparency of land ownership and the community right to buy.

“There’s a real demand for increased transparency but we need to know what they [Government] are going to do with that information,” said Mr McCornick.

On the issue of community right to buy, he said: “Farmers have a right to object because there’s real potential that it could lead to them losing a really important element of their business.”

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