The Scottish Crofting Foundation this week wrote to Cabinet Secretary, Richard Lochhead stressing the importance of the Scottish Beef Calf Scheme in supporting suckler cattle herds in the hills.
According to SCF Chairman Norman Leask, the effectiveness of the scheme, which recycles money within the beef sector to support breeding herds, provides an example of how mechanisms under the CAP can be used to achieve specific outcomes.
He said, “The CAP Healthcheck will provide an opportunity over the coming year or so to decide what we want to see happening with agricultural support. Decoupling of support has produced many challenges, especially in more marginal hill, upland and areas. In some places, particularly in the Highlands and Islands, declines in livestock numbers are pretty steep. Cattle numbers, though, are holding up better than sheep and we think this is partly to be explained by the targeted, simple and accessible support available through the Beef Calf Scheme.