29 January 1999
Bleak outlook on Scots farms
By FWi staff
THE gloomiest forecast yet of the future of Scottish agriculture emerged on Monday.
A year-long study of farming in the Borders region concluded that by 2003 average profits would be £4700, which could not be considered viable.
“Average income in the Borders is £15,700 so you are looking at farmers taking all the risks they do for about a quarter of that return,” said report author Sandy Ramsay from the Scottish Agricultural College.
He contends that only full payment of the 30% of EU subsidies to farming, due to be renationalised under Agenda 2000 reforms, will keep many farms afloat, almost doubling the £4700 projection to £8900.
He was concerned about the vulnerability of the Borders to subsidy capping, either in terms of total cash paid to a farm or by labour input.
“Borders farms are larger than the Scottish average and large, tenanted units are a feature of the area. As many as 21% could be affected by capping and £2.5 million in subsidy receipts could be lost through modulation in one form or another,”