The agricultural sector, with its related upstream and downstream activities, is a key contributor to the rural economy in Scotland. In addition to its direct contribution, agricultural produce forms a vital input to the food and drink industry, which represents one of our largest manufacturing sectors, and since farming is the dominant land use in Scotland it is of direct economic importance to tourism. It is therefore vitally important that we maintain a vibrant farming and land management sector.
Agriculture also has an important role to play in helping to tackle many of the current global challenges we face, such as food security, climate change, biodiversity loss and energy security. In helping to address these problems agriculture will have to change and adapt—it will have to increase food production whilst reducing its environmental impact—but Scottish farmers and land managers are ideally placed to contribute and make agriculture part of the solution.
The agricultural policy and support regime plays a vital role in shaping the direction of farming and land management and the degree to which the industry can tackle the challenges we face. Scottish Land & Estates therefore works with other stakeholders to engage Scottish, UK and European policymakers and to influence the development of agricultural policy.
Scottish Land & Estates believes that we need a support regime that:
- Helps to maintain Scotland’s food production capacity;
- Enhances the competitiveness of the farming industry;
- Rewards Scottish farmers and land managers for the wider non-market benefits they deliver to society (such as mitigating climate change, mitigating flooding, ensuring water quality and protecting biodiversity, landscape and the cultural heritage).