Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Cap reaction: Only hard work will make it happen

NFU Scotland's director of policy Jonnie Hall
NFU Scotland's director of policy Jonnie Hall

The dust is settling on the major decisions around implementation of the new Cap regime in Scotland and the headlines will generate more questions than answers.

Cap reform has been very much alive for three years and more, but in recent times, you would believe it had all come down to the last three weeks, three days or three hours.

The headline decisions do give us a clearer vision of future farm support in Scotland but only hard work will make it happen.

Moving forward from a historic to an area-based system of support was always going to be challenging – more so given then the significantly lower budget we had to play with.

In Scotland’s complex farming landscape, things have just got tougher for all farms and crofts. Then apply the shackles of strict rules and tighter funding, and things started to look impossible.

Any of the solutions identified were partial at best, suiting some but not others and creating division and tension along the way. Accepting the imperfect nature of any Cap reform is always the first and most important step.

Sticking to principles has to be the next.

From the outset, activity driven support had to be the goal. Whether established business or new entrant, the active farmer has to be the target. Whether rough grazing, permanent or temporary grass, or arable land, active farming remains the focus. But the tools available were and remain blunt.

Even so, there were red lines that could not be crossed and key issues to be fought for.

· Creating three payment regions to target support

· Using coupled payments to target activity

· Applying the Scottish clause and the negative list to target inactivity

· Establishing a National Reserve to target new entrants and developers

· Using transition to target and safeguard existing investment

Individually, these key issues are vital. Collectively, with other elements that the Scottish Government should also put in place, including some from Pillar 2 (the new SRDP), I think this Cap package can provide the best deal on support and enable those that want to farm the land to get on with it.

This process has been tough and frustrating, but in pushing a host of possibilities I think we have avoided an all too simple approach that could have punished the active and promoted the inactive.

With the big decisions made, it is now that the real hard work begins.

The details on implementation and eligibility have to be communicated clearly. And bureaucracy and compliance risk have to be minimised.

No small task for the weeks and months ahead – but NFU Scotland is ready for the next challenge of the continuing Cap reform marathon.

* Jonnie Hall is NFU Scotland’s director of policy

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]