Bleak outlook on Scots farms

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,”

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