Cover Photo: Amy Millard (rspb-images.com)
On 20 June, Scottish Environment LINK wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, announcing the launch by 24 environment charities of the Farm for Scotland’s Future campaign. The full letter, also available here, follows:
To: Mairi Gougeon MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands
Dear Cabinet Secretary,
FARM FOR SCOTLAND’S FUTURE
The upcoming introduction of an Agriculture Bill will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to replace the decades-old farm funding system with a new system that works for nature, climate and people.
The Farm for Scotland’s Future campaign, launched by 24 Scottish Environment LINK member charities and advised by farmers’ organisations, is calling on the Scottish Government to grasp this opportunity with both hands.
Farmers and crofters manage three quarters of Scotland’s land, and the effective stewardship of that land is essential in tackling the twin crises of climate change and nature loss. Farming is one of the main drivers of the decline in Scotland’s biodiversity and is also one of the top three sources of climate emissions in Scotland.
However, growing numbers of farmers are working to make agriculture part of the solution to our environmental crises. Supporting those farmers, and encouraging best practice right across the sector, will be crucial to meeting Scottish Government’s targets to reach Net Zero and to restore nature.
The Scottish Government has stated that it wants Scotland to “become a global leader in sustainable and regenerative agriculture” with “a support framework that delivers high quality food production, climate mitigation and adaptation, and nature restoration.” Meeting those aspirations will require an ambitious approach to the design and implementation of the new agriculture support system.
The Farm for Scotland’s Future campaign is calling on the Scottish Government to:
- Maintain the current level of public spending on agriculture.
- Ensure most of this funding supports land management and farming methods that are nature friendly and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Increase investment in advice, knowledge transfer and training to help farmers and crofters adapt and change.
We are grateful for the engagement our members have had with you on these issues, and we look forward to further engagement with yourself and your colleagues across parliament as you take forward the Agriculture Bill.
Dr Deborah Long
Chief Officer, Scottish Environment LINK
Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland
Badenoch & Strathspey Conservation Group
Bat Conservation Trust
British Dragonfly Society
Buglife – The Invertebrate Conservation Trust
Bumblebee Conservation Trust
Froglife Trust (Scotland)
Keep Scotland Beautiful
North East Mountain Trust
Scottish Campaign for National Parks
Scottish Wild Beaver Group
Scottish Wild Land Group
Scottish Wildlife Trust
Soil Association Scotland
Trees for Life
Woodland Trust Scotland
Nature Friendly Farming Network
Pasture for Life