17 September 1998
SNFU seeks cut in overshoot penalties

THE Government has been urged to press for reductions in the penalties levied by the European Union on Scottish agriculture for overshooting its arable target area this year.

Douglas Morrison, convener of the Scottish National Farmers Union, said the overshoot had been caused by the beef crisis which prompted more farmers to switch to cereal production.

Scottish Office figures show a record 7.8% overshoot in the “non-less favoured area” – the better quality land. There was no overshoot in the less-favoured areas, principally hills and upland.

Spain avoided an overshoot penalty three years ago when growers switched from vegetables to cereals because of a drought.

Scottish Office agriculture minister Lord Sewel pointed out Scottish farmers could still expect payments of £140 million under the arable area payments scheme.

  • The Herald 17/09/98 page 27