Hundreds of new farmers in Scotland will soon receive a “welcome boost” of £2m, as payments for the Scottish government’s new entrants scheme are now under way.
The funding, which will be delivered over two years, is designed to support new entrants who are excluded from single farm payments under current EU rules.
More than 600 farmers will receive payments of between £1,146 and £4,250 in two instalments. The first will reach bank accounts within days and the second will be paid in early April 2014.
NFU Scotland said it wanted all new entrants and developers to have immediate access to full support under the proposed area-based system with an ongoing national reserve available as a safety net from 2015 and in future years.
“Funds going into the farm accounts of new entrants, both now and next spring, will provide a welcome boost to fragile cashflows,” said Mull farmer Iain Mackay, chairman of NFU Scotland’s new generation group and a member of the Scottish government’s new entrants panel.
“It also provides a funding bridge that will help carry new generation businesses a little closer to full support in 2015.
“These payments are both welcome and needed, but the reality is that those new businesses receiving them will currently be operating with little or no direct support while farming alongside established businesses on full support levels. The new CAP arrangements cannot come quick enough for Scotland’s new entrants.”
NFUS president Nigel Miller said the union wanted any spare money left in the weather aid payments pot to be diverted to topping up the new entrants pot.
“The Scottish government must crack on, and allocate extra resources if necessary, to complete the Weather Aid fund allocations. That would help us identify if further funding might be available for the new entrants budget in 2014,” he said.