By Scott Donaldson, president of the IAAS

With Brexit continuing to dominate headlines following Boris Johnson’s defeat at Westminster the farming industry is facing up to massive uncertainty over the next few weeks.

Here in Scotland, the whole rural economy sector welcomed recognition within the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government this week of the impact a no deal Brexit will have on agriculture. The First Minister outlined plans aimed at mitigating the damage which could result from leaving the EU without a deal.

Farmers were given reassurances that agricultural support payment entitlements through the Common Agricultural Policy will be maintained until 2024 in Scotland should the UK leave the EU. The Scottish Government also committed to pursuing a fair allocation of funds for farming and food production for Scotland in the future and will fight against attempts by the UK Government to attach rules or conditions to how these payments should be spent north of the border.

Earlier this year at the Royal Highland Show the Scottish Government announced plans for a taskforce to provide stability and simplify CAP over the next few years. This was reiterated in the First Minister’s statement to Parliament along with plans to introduce the Rural Support Bill to allow Scotland to amend EU retained law.

While all these measures will provide the sector with a degree of comfort there are without doubt tough times ahead. However, the farming sector is a resilient one having survived worse challenges than Brexit and as auctioneers we want to support the farming industry in any way we can. At IAAS, we are ready to play our part in putting in place any measures that might be necessary, although clearly we hope that common sense prevails.

We can’t wave a magic wand and solve Brexit but we can provide a level of stability through our auction marts that is lacking elsewhere. The message to farmers is the same as it’s always been. Keep using your mart. This is the only transparent way to secure the best price and guaranteed payment for everyone playing their part in the rural economy.