Phase out subsidies or go under, warns Borders farmer
IT will be too late to save much of Scotlands rural infrastructure unless production-based farm subsidies are phased out within the next five years, according to a well respected Borders farmer.
Jim Pate, a senior member of the Borders farming community, says the industry must be restructured if agriculture is to come out of the present crisis and make progress.
It will be vital to ensure money coming into farming does not disappear in the next round of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms, says Pate, who farms 1133.16ha (2,800 acres) in the upland regions of Tweed Valley, near Galashiels.
Support for hill farmers should be paid on the number of labour units employed on a farm, as a way of retaining as many people as possible on the land, he says.
And more resources should be used to encourage farmers to manage the countryside in the way the public wants to see it kept.
The Pates are among a group of 20 Border farmers pioneering the use of electronic tags for keeping computerised records.
- The Scotsman 02/03/98 page 18