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Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme payments set to begin

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Scottish beef producers will receive their share of Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme (SSBSS) payments worth £38 million in the next few weeks.

Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing, said funds will be awarded to 6,485 farm businesses which breed beef calves from suckler cows.

“We have worked hard to get these vital payments out earlier than expected in order to aid our suckler herds, which form the backbone of quality beef production in Scotland and provide environmental benefits in fragile areas,” said Mr Ewing.

“Payments of £99 per mainland animal and £144 per island animal will aid farmers cash flow, providing a welcome boost to the rural economy while also helping to support farmers who are producing the quality meat products that Scotland is renowned for globally.”

NFU Scotland said the payments would help ease cash flow worries.

The union’s livestock committee chairman, Charlie Adam, said: “Having this money heading into bank accounts ahead of schedule is a very welcome development.

“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.”

He said the value of scheme could not be underestimated as it ensured producers around the country were encouraged to keep producing beef calves to underpin the production of quality Scotch Beef.

Mr Adam added: “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.”

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