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A New Chapter for Farming and Food Production.

The news on Christmas eve that a trade deal had been struck between the United Kingdom and the European Union brought a sigh of relief for us all and concluded the first four-year chapter of the EU Exit story.

The conclusion of this deal brought a sense of welcome clarity - the agricultural industry in Scotland is one of the most exposed to change post EU Exit - with changes to environmental regulations, support payments, trade policy, marketing policy, regulatory policy to name but a few. However, until now, the detail of what that change might be hasn’t been clear, leading to a difficult environment from which businesses can make long term decisions upon.

Alongside the news on a post exit EU trade deal, Scottish Government has also made announcements in recent weeks around what future support payments may look like following our exit from the Common Agricultural Policy. The Suckler Beef Climate report, penned by Jim Walker and Claire Simonetta, is now being moulded into an industry wide pilot scheme with a targeted opening date of spring 2021. This first of its kind, the proposed support scheme aims to tackle the twin issues of low output from our suckler cow herd and reducing carbon emissions. By focusing support payments on business activity and action, helping transition some of the changes to production systems that are required to meet our legally binding climate change targets, at the same time as improving the bottom line of farm AND supply chain profitability.

By collectively engaging as an industry with a support scheme that specifically targets carbon reduction, we send a strong message to our consumer base that farming is part of the solution to our climate change worries, and that by purchasing and eating the products from businesses engaged in carbon reduction, consumers too can play their part in reducing their emissions and connecting the food that we eat with the landscape and environment around them.

EU Exit gives us the biggest opportunity in a generation to change the way we run our businesses, produce our red meat, and how we engage with our consumers. As details emerge around new support payments, and trade arrangements, Quality Meat Scotland will be keeping you up to date with our EU Exit guide on our webpage.  As we adjust to our new place in the world, and new terms of trade, there will undoubtedly be turbulence in the marketplace. To combat this communication between different parts of the supply chain is vital, so make sure you pick up the phone to your auctioneer, agent or processor to plan ahead and navigate this new chapter together.