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Agribusiness News July 2024 – Sector Focus: Whole Farm Plans

1 July 2024

Whole Farm Plans

Under the new Agricultural Route Map for Scotland, farmers and crofters will be required to undertake a series of initiatives as part of a Whole Farm Plan if they wish to apply for support payments through the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) from 2025 onwards. The initiative has been designed to help farmers and crofters take a holistic view of their farm/croft in terms of efficiency, sustainability, carbon emissions and biodiversity. The idea behind the Whole Farm Plan is to help businesses identify areas for improvement, and to subsequently allow them to assess the effectiveness of the improvements they carried out.

Timescales

By 15th of May 2025

Farmers and crofters who intend to claim under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) will have to demonstrate that by the 15th of May 2025 they:

  • have started to review and baseline their current and livestock management practices and,
  • are considering any changes required to ensure that their future agricultural activities are sustainable, efficient and resilient.

By the 15th of May 2025, in order to qualify for a Basic Payment, farmers and crofters will have to have in place at least two out of the five baselines.  The five baselines and their review periods are:

 

Audit/Plan NameReviewed
Animal Health and Welfare PlanAnnually
Integrated Pest Management Plan
Biodiversity AuditFive Yearly*
Carbon Audits
Soil Sampling and Analysis (Region 1 land)

 

Please note with regards Soil Sampling and Analysis – every Region 1 field must be sampled once over a 5 year period and from 1 July 2024 must include analysis for soil carbon

Where businesses are required to have an animal health and welfare plan and/or a carbon audit as part of their Quality Assurance membership and/or a production contract e.g. a supermarket or a milk company contract; these plans will qualify as one of the two baselines requirements as long as they meet the validation criteria in terms of quality and timescale.

Farmers and crofters who intend to claim Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) in 2025 must check what audits and plans are required for their business.

  • By the 15th of May 2025 ensure that they have at least two of the audits and plans relevant to their business in place completed.
  • Ensure that the audits/plans meet the minimum standard for the Whole Farm Plan.
  • Ensure individual audits/plans meet the validity period (see table on the previous page).
  • Indicate on their 2025 Single Application Form (SAF) what audits/plans they have.
  • Ensure copies of audits/plans can be shared with SGRIPD if required e.g. a biodiversity (audit) habitat map.
  • Keep a record of any actions taken based on the information from the audits/plans.

From 2025, as part of the on-farm inspection regime, SGRIPD will check that farmers and crofters have the audits and plans that they have indicated that they have on their 2025 SAF and that there are deemed valid (i.e. they meet the minimum standard and validity period).

By 15th of May 2028

Businesses  need to have completed all the audits and plans relevant to their land classification and the agricultural activity carried out the holding, which translates as:

  • All businesses will need to have a Biodiversity and a Carbon audit.
  • Business with Region 1 land that apply artificial fertilisers and/or organic manures to it, will need to have a soil analysis plan.
  • All cattle, sheep, pig and poultry (350+) keepers will need an Animal Health and Welfare Plan.
  • All businesses that use pesticides (plant protection products) will need to have an Integrated Pest Management Plan.

There are also plans to introduce a Nutrient Management Plan which will provide recommendations for crop and grassland. For further details of the Whole Farm Plan and the five baseline initiatives, please see online at: www.ruralpayments.org/topics/all-chemes/whole-farm-plan

 

Christine Beaton, christine.beaton@sac.co.uk

 

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