By NFUS President, Martin Kennedy

A priority, both personally and for the industry in 2022, is to get a new support policy in place that will work for Scottish farmers and crofters.

A clear direction is essential. Scottish agriculture is facing a time of change when future policy will be developed with no outside influence from the EU - something that hasn’t happened for nearly 50 years. Although there is serious uncertainty for all farmers and crofters as to how this will work on the ground once we reach 2025, it is vital that our voice is heard.

It is a once in a generation opportunity to get a policy in place that can provide an economic return for farmers and deliver on climate change mitigation and environmental enhancements.

After some serious negotiation, I agreed to co-chair the Agriculture Reform Implementation Oversight Board (ARIOB) with the Cabinet Secretary Mairi Gougeon. It was vital we maximised our influence as a Union and try to steer the direction of future policy with a hand on the tiller rather than be reactionary to the outcomes from the outside when it’s too late to change anything.

The National Test Programme, set for delivery in Spring 2022 will be the first test and set the pace of transition from now until 2025.

We have many other challenges in front of us next year, not least the immediate issues around input costs, labour and trade. Collectively however, agriculture has a very strong voice, and we consistently see positive outcomes from our lobbying efforts – whether that be local, regional, Scottish or at a UK level.