Group responds to Scottish strategy

28 June 2001

Group responds to Scottish strategy

By Tom Allen-Stevens

LINKING Environment and Farming (LEAF) has formed a Scottish Group to promote Integrated Farm Management (IFM) north of the border.

The announcement follows Tuesdays (26 June) unveiling of a radical new farming blueprint, proposed by the Scottish Executive.

The Forward Strategy for Scottish Agriculture proposes a shift from production, environmental or area payments to “whole farm” support.

It would pay farm businesses for bringing economic, social and environmental benefits to their area.

Edward Baxter, LEAF demonstration farmer and chairman of the new group, welcomed the strategy, but feels that it is important to take a realistic view of farming.

“If farmers are to deliver environmental objectives, economic viability must come first,” he stressed.

The Scottish Group comprises leading academics, and representatives from the business community, conservation organisations, and the agricultural industry.

Scotlands four LEAF demonstration farmers join the Group which aims to present IFM to farmers and consumers and promote the LEAF Marque label.

The label is a voluntary standard, being developed with other farm assurance schemes, to give recognition to farmers for their environmental performance.

“IFM enables farmers to maintain viable businesses while producing wholesome, affordable food in harmony with the environment,” said Mr Baxter.

The Group believes there are a number of key issues that should play a pivotal role in the Scottish Strategy.

These include collaboration throughout the food chain, raising awareness with the general public and better training and support for farmers.

LEAF encourages a better public understanding of farming through a nationwide network of 39 LEAF Demonstration Farms.


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