Union backs DEFRA on three crop rule challenge

NFU Scotland has given its full support to Defra plans to tackle Europe over the damaging crop diversification element of new CAP Reform requirements.

Following its meeting with Defra Secretary of State Owen Paterson in Edinburgh last week, the Union has prepared a briefing on the impact of the so called ‘three crop rule’ in Scotland and submitted it to the Minister to support his effort for this greening measure to be reviewed.

NFUS has consistently argued against crop diversification as being suitable or appropriate for Scotland. A primary reason for its inclusion in the greening requirements of the reform package was as a means of combating monoculture – an issue in some regions of the EU – but certainly not Scotland.

NFU Scotland President Nigel Miller said:

“We have consistently highlighted the damage that crop diversification requirements could wreak on arable production here in Scotland and we fully support the Secretary of State in his efforts to have this nonsensical element of CAP reform reviewed at the earliest opportunity.

“Its impact will be considerable. The ‘three crop rule’ proposed by Europe will force Scottish growers away from established markets like malting barley and, instead of being market-focussed in the crops they grow, look to plant other crops simply to secure the greening element of the support available.

“Many environmentalists agree that the three crop requirement, when compared to more traditional crop rotations, will fail to deliver benefits and will not add diversity to an already mixed landscape.

“For Scotland, weather pressures at harvest and during sowing periods are another factor which often dictates what crops our growers can produce. In the northern and more upland parts of Scotland, crop choice is limited with spring barley at the core of production – underpinning our World-famous whisky industry.

“These specialist malting barley growers add significant value to the economy and the ecology of Scotland and for European rules to force them into growing other crops is a nonsense.”

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