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Agribusiness News March 2023 – Policy Brief

28 February 2023

Health is Wealth

As part of the Preparing for Sustainable Farming (PSF) initiative, the Scottish Government has introduced new Animal Health and Welfare Intervention funding  open to all livestock producers with a Business Reference Number (BRN).  The aim is to encourage livestock keepers to enhance the health and welfare of their flock/herd which aids efficiency of production, resulting in lower greenhouse gas emissions per kg of output.

Intervention Funding Options

Each year, producers can pick two interventions from the list below:

  • Bull pre-breeding examination to British Cattle Veterinary Association standard.
  • Calf respiratory investigation +/- virus screen.
  • Screen 12 animals per management group (or all sheep if less than 12 in the flock) to determine sheep scab status of whole flock.
  • Targeted iceberg disease investigation (options: Maedi Visna, Johnes Border Disease, Contagious Lymphadenitis, lung scanning for OPA). Screen cull ewes prior to sale, selecting animals with low condition scores.
  • Flock lameness assessment by vet: identify conditions (including Contagious Ovine Digital Dermatitis) and their prevalence within the flock.
  • Liver fluke: Faecal Egg Count on sentinel animals and flukicide efficacy testing.
  • Gastrointestinal parasite (worm) investigation (Faecal Egg Count and wormer efficacy testing).

While having a carbon audit when choosing options is recommended; it is not currently mandatory.

Payments & Regulations

A standard cost of £250 can be claimed for each intervention.  In addition to which, with the first claim, producers are eligible to receive an additional payment of £250 for doing development activities (time spent researching animal health and welfare best practice) appropriate to their flock or herd.

Payment will be made on evidence of investigation plus advised action provided on the standard supporting document.  The action must be defined by an Expert Advisor, e.g. a vet or agricultural consultant, without this, no payment will be made.

Work needs to be carried out by 31st December 2023 and claims made by 28th February 2024.



The deadline for submitting Sustainable Agriculture Capital Grants Scheme (SACGS) claims has now been extended to Friday 31 March, in response to issues affecting the equipment supply chain.

2023 Payments Strategy Timetable

To help with budgeting going forward, for details of the 2023 payment timetable covering Direct Payments and Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) payments, please click here.

Ending the Sale of Peat in Scotland

As part of the fourth National Planning Framework (NFP), the Scottish Parliament has approved a new national planning policy whereby proposals for new commercial peat extraction, including extensions to existing sites, will not be supported, except in very limited circumstances.

Currently ~ 1,000 ha of peat is used for commercial peat extraction, most of which is used by the horticulture industry, a small amount for fuel and ~ around 1% is used in the malting process of whisky production.  As part of the Scot Gov’s wider plans to protect peatlands and reduce carbon emissions, the intention is to ban the retail sale of peat for home gardening first, before considering how a wider ban would affect commercial users.  As part of the Ending the Sale of Peat consultation views are being sought from  those who extract peat, supply peat and other users of peat such as the fuel and whisky industries.   Responses to the consultation will inform plans and timescales for moving away from using peat products in order to protect peatlands from further damage.

Facility for Investment Ready Nature (FIRN)  

As part of Just Transition – a fairer greener Scotland, the FIRN in Scotland programme managed by NatureScot is offering grants of up to £240,000 to organisations and partnerships to help restore and improve the natural environment, e.g. woodland creation and peatland restoration. Applicants need to demonstrate the means to engage and share benefits with communities.



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