Members of Scottish Environment LINK’s Food and Farming group have set out in a briefing for MSPs what the Scottish government’s Agriculture Bill, expected this autumn, must contain in order to help make farming work for nature, climate and people.
The coalition of environmental charities is calling on the Scottish government to transform the farm funding system so that at least three quarters of public spending on farming supports methods that restore nature and tackle climate change, and to support all farmers and crofters in the transition to sustainable farming.
The coalition launched the Farm for Scotland’s Future campaign, backed by 41 environmental, farming and food organisations.
The briefing includes calls for the Agriculture Bill to:
- Make clear that its purpose is to drive transformational change in our farming and food production system to address the climate and nature emergencies and support required land use change.
- Set targets for how farming will help restore nature and tackle climate change, for example by increasing organic farming or reducing the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilisers.
- Include a redistributive mechanism that would benefit small farms and crofts.
- Introduce an upper limit on direct payments to farm businesses, so that large amounts of public money are no longer given with few conditions attached to some of the wealthiest landowners and largest businesses, as happens in the current system.
The briefing also calls for the total farm support budget for Scotland to be at least maintained and potentially increased, due to the central contribution agriculture and land use must make to climate change mitigation and adaptation, and to nature restoration.