The Trust has joined members of Scottish Environment LINK to call for a farm funding system that works for nature, climate and people.
The Farm for Scotland’s Future campaign, advised by farmers’ groups, calls on the Scottish Government to replace the decades-old system of farm funding with a new system that helps farmers and crofters manage their land in ways that protect and restore nature, tackle climate change, and revitalise rural areas.
As well as producing food, farmers and crofters manage three quarters of Scotland’s land. Yet many current farming practices cause pollution and severely deplete our wildlife. Farming is also one of the top three sources of climate emissions in Scotland.
Farmers can have an immensely positive relationship with wildlife when they operate in a way that works with rather than against nature. Effective support that helps land managers become true guardians of nature is vital to unlock this potential.
The Scottish Government spends more than half a billion pounds a year on farm funding. It plans to introduce a new agriculture bill in 2023 to update its funding system. Campaigners say the government must transform farm funding to make Scottish farming sustainable.
Carey Coombs, Scottish Wildlife Trust council member and organic livestock farmer, said: “Nature and agriculture are closely interwoven. Farmers can have an immensely positive relationship with wildlife when they operate in a way that works with rather than against nature. Effective support that helps land managers become true guardians of nature is vital to unlock this potential. We want the Scottish Government to deliver for nature, the climate and all of Scotland’s people through the new system of payments.”
Deborah Long, Chief Officer of Scottish Environment LINK, said: “Farming is incredibly important to Scotland. Farmers and crofters are key to producing food, but we entrust them with so much more. We need them to look after our countryside, restore our wildlife, and tackle climate change. But the farm funding system doesn’t reflect those expectations. If we want farming to work for nature, climate and people, we need to fund farmers to do that job.”