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Agribusiness News August 2022 – Policy Briefs

3 August 2022

New Land Reform Bill

As we transition to a Net Zero Nation, in order to ensure greater benefit to communities and the environment transformative changes are being proposed by the Scottish Government to the way Scotland’s land is used and managed.

The New Land Reform Bill aims to address long- standing concerns about the highly concentrated pattern of land ownership in rural areas of Scotland.

The proposals for the Bill which is expected to be introduced by the end of 2023 are based on the Scottish Land Commission’s (SLC), recommendations for legislation to tackle the scale and concentration of land ownership, including a major review of the Scale and Concentration of Land Ownership.

Proposed measures include:

  •  The introduction of a public interest test for transfers of large-scale landholdings.
  •  A requirement on owners of large-scale holdings to give prior notice to community bodies of their intention to sell.
  •  A requirement on those seeking land-based subsidies to have the land registered in the Land Register, to ensure transparency around who benefits from public funding.
  •  As part of the consultation process, views are being sought about how to ensure communities benefit from future investment in Scotland’s natural capital, and that there is greater transparency around land and asset ownership.

The closing date for the consultation process is the 25th of September.

Thrive 2022

SRUC, Abertay and Queen Margaret Universities have launched a free collaborative initiative aimed at supporting the next generation of food & drink and rural enterprise entrepreneurs.

Through a combination of face to face and online sessions THRIVE has been developed to help students and recent graduates to gain essential business skills and knowledge to support their business idea.

Forthcoming sessions include a Business Skills day (5th Nov) and a Food Product Development day (12th Nov). The free courses cover concept development, planning, marketing, pitching, and access to general business support information. For more information and/or to book a place, click here.

Sustainable Farming Survey Open

Track Two of National Test Programme has now been launched with “Testing Actions for Sustainable Farming” (TSF). The purpose of TSF is to design, test, improve and standardise the tools, support, and process necessary to reward farmers, crofters and land managers for the climate and biodiversity outcomes they deliver.

The first phase of testing is a simple survey of multiple-choice questions to understand current awareness and experience of sustainable and regenerative agriculture.

While to ensure the survey results represent the breadth and diversity of farms and crofts across Scotland, a representative base of participants has already been invited under Tranche 1 to participate with a positive response from invitees; Tranche 2 of the survey is now open to farmers and crofters across Scotland.

Participants who complete the survey will be awarded a participation fee of £50 within three weeks of the survey closing date for each tranche. The fee will be paid directly into the bank account associated with their BRN.

The closing date for Tranche 2 is the 28th of August 2022. However, the survey may close earlier if the target number of participants is achieved before then. To take part in the survey, please email stating the business’s Business Reference Number (BRN).

Survey of the Economic Conditions of Crofting 2019-2022

Over the coming weeks, crofters across Scotland will be invited to take part in a survey of the Economic Conditions of Crofting (online, via post or over the phone). The survey will provide valuable information on the uses and financial situation of crofts in 2019- 2022.

The information gathered will help to inform future Scottish Government crofting policy development. In addition, the Crofting Commission will use the results to help focus resources on the factors which will be of most benefit to crofting.

Unique links have been sent to applicable crofters. The deadline for postal responses is Friday 26 August, with telephone interviews taking place from Friday 2 September.

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