Farmers and crofters should stop worrying about Brexit and focus instead on making their businesses more productive and profitable.
That was the message delivered by agricultural policy guru Jeremy Moody at yesterday’s Farming Scotland Conference in Carnoustie.
Mr Moody – secretary and adviser to the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers – said while Brexit was a cause for concern, farmers should not be sitting waiting to see what happens before adapting their businesses for change.
“None of you can do a single thing about anything (Brexit),” said Mr Moody.
“What you control is what’s in your business.
“To simply defer change for uncertainty is not a warranted strategy.”
He said leaving Europe meant leaving behind the Common Agricultural Policy – something which offered each administration across the UK, including Holyrood, a chance to develop a bespoke policy for the future.
“We are going to have to rise to the challenge and justify the expenditure, and devise the policies that carry and command public consent,” he added.
Mr Moody said although the Scottish Government had not yet revealed its full policy plans, it had hinted towards very little change until 2024.
On budgets, Mr Moody said it was likely Scotland would continue to receive 16% of the UK agricultural budget – as opposed to the 9% it would receive if the calculations were based on the Barnett Formula – and it would be up to the Scottish Government to decide how this is spent.
He said government aspirations to prevent cuts to Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS) payments meant money could end up being moved from one funding stream to another.
Mr Moody said the most logical place to take funds from would be Region 1 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) allocations, and the Scottish Government will have powers to do what it wants with these payments as part of the EU withdrawal deal.