Scotland’s Rural Affairs Secretary on farm income figures

Commenting on the Total Income from Farming Estimates for Scotland 2012-14, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Food Richard Lochhead said:”Agriculture is the cornerstone of Scotland’s rural economy and it is disappointing that farming incomes fell last year after such strong growth in 2013 – although I note the longer term trend is more encouraging with farm incomes more than doubling since 1998.”

“Last year’s drop in farm incomes will come as no surprise given the dreadful budget deal negotiated by the UK Government and subsequent reduction in Single Farm Payments.The statistics reveal some the challenging conditions being faced by some sectors of Scottish farming, such as the current difficulties in the dairy market. The slight uplift in dairy income reflects the increased volume of milk being produced in Scotland in the face of stagnating farm gate prices in 2014 and, of course, we have seen further price reductions imposed as global volatility continues to take its toll.”

“And while there was a marginal fall in cattle income, I very much welcome the increases in returns for other livestock sectors, most notably for our sheep and pig farmers. Meanwhile the fall in poultry output is not unexpected given the restructuring this sector has endured over the past 18 months.

“Cereals have been hit by the fall in world prices, however it’s good to see that our farmers have been at least partly helped by bringing in a bumper harvest and by the fall in fuel, fertiliser and seed prices. There was a good potato harvest but a fall in consumer demand has seen a challenging year for the potato sector where we have also seen a fall in income.”

“The Scottish Government continues to do what we can to create the right conditions for Scottish farming to flourish but clearly we would be able to do more had Scotland received in full the €223 million convergence uplift that rightly belongs to Scottish farmers. The new Common Agricultural Policy that is now in place is designed to target support at active farmers but the complexity of these reforms underlines the need to be able to review and amend the implementation detail in the next year or two – something that I continue to press for in Europe.”

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