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Agribusiness News February 2024 – Policy Brief

1 February 2024

Preparing for Sustainable Farming (PSF) – 2023 Year Grant claims

All carbon audits, soil analysis and/ or animal health and welfare claims for the scheme year 1 January 2023 to 31 December 2023 must be submitted by midnight on Thursday 29 February 2024.

Full guidance on how to claim is available on the Preparing for Sustainable Farming portal on Rural Payments and Services Website.

 Rule Changes for Basic Payment Scheme Entitlements

Under the new Rural Support (Simplification and Improvement) (Scotland) Regulations 2023, the two-year usage rule for BPS payment entitlements no longer applies. Up until last year, farmers and could lose entitlements if they did not utilise some or all of their entitlements in the previous two years.

For farmers and crofters wishing to transfer entitlements, the entitlement transfer request form will be simplified to 3 categories – temporary, permanent or inheritance.

Businesses will no longer need to notify if the transfer is to be done with or without land.  The siphon for transfer without land will no longer be applied.

Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) Eradication Scheme

Since the introduction of the Scottish BVD eradication Scheme in 2010, the percentage of cattle breeding herds with BVD has fallen from 40% down to 9%, estimated to equate to a financial benefit of £20- £70 per cow per year.

With the goal of eradicating BVD and also seeking to combat anti-microbial resistance; the Scottish Government launched an online consultation.  The consultation focuses on the nine areas identified by the BVD Advisory Group where the scheme could be strengthened, namely:

  1. Introducing minimum proportion testing for the BVD check test.
  2. Reducing the Compulsory BVD Investigation (CBI) compliance period.
  3. Introduce veterinary certification after CBI.
  4. Increase the consequences of non-compliance.
  5. Incorporate BVD compliance into single farm payments.
  6. Increase testing for calves of animals purchased in-calf (“Trojan cows”).
  7. Delay BVD Positive herd restrictions.
  8. Continue no compulsory slaughter of Persistently Infected Cattle known as PIs.
  9. Introduce more obligations for non-breeding herds.

The rationale behind the potential incorporation of BVD compliance into single farm payments is to recognise the hard work that keepers undergo to meet BVD requirements.  However, that said, it would also act as a carrot/stick for those herds who don’t currently comply with the scheme.

New Small Producers Pilot Fund 

With the aim of seeking to reduce food miles and to support local food chains, the Scottish Government is replacing the Small Farm Grant Scheme with a new Small Producers Pilot Fund.

Through the provision of training courses and web-based resources, the initial funding of £180,000 will help small food producers move to greener and more sustainable production methods.  The funding will also support two small-scale abattoir projects.

Good Food Nation

The Scottish Government has published its proposals to improve access to healthy, locally produced food.

The Good Food Plan sets out six over-arching outcomes for a Good Food Nation including access to safe, healthy sustainable food, developing thriving food culture, improving physical and mental health, promoting, and supporting Scotland’s food and drink sector, and building on Scotland’s global reputation for high quality food.

The Scottish Government has also launched an online consultation on the proposals.  The consultation period ends on the 22nd of April 2024.


DatePoint to Note
29th Feb 2024PSF Grant Claim deadline for Carbon Audits, Soil Analysis and Animal Health and Welfare Plans

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