15 November 2001
Scots area payments under way

By Tom Allen-Stevens

AREA aid payments for 2001 to Scottish farmers are due to start on Friday (16 November), the Scottish Executive Environmental and Rural Affairs Department (SEERAD) has announced.

At the Crops Scottish Conference, Bill Denholm, SEERAD head of arable crops, said growers bank accounts would grow by 38 million by Monday.

“Ross Finnie is very keen to see a prosperous and flourishing arable sector,” he said of the rural minister, who was unable to speak at the conference.

He also stressed that Mr Finnies demands for Whitehall to apply for agrimoney compensation were “very strong and very real”.

“Sadly his efforts were in vain but, as a civil servant, it is very encouraging to see a minister respond so quickly.”

Mr Finnie was praised for his support of Scottish arable farmers by a number of members of a packed audience at the conference near Perth.

“Recent developments show that the government in Westminster do not share his support of arable farmers,” said Scottish National Farmers Union cereals committee chairman David Houghton.

“Our poor English colleagues are having a tough time, while Mr Finnies department is whiter than white,” said United Cereals of Scotland director John Drysdale.

Support for lupins was also unveiled by Mr Denholm. They will be eligible for protein arable area payments from 2002, he announced.

“This will give feed compounders another valuable non-GM source of protein,” explained Mr Denholm.

He also unveiled plans for SEERAD to allow electronic area aid payment applications for the 2002 harvest year.

Introduced in England and Wales this year, only 840 of the anticipated 10,000 growers took up the opportunity to lodge the application on the Internet.

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