• Andrew Prentice of Maol Farm on the Isle of Iona reported that the scheme would allow him to fast forward his operation by a few years: “The scheme has been a great idea for those farmers and crofters who are running smaller scale operations and are more reliant on subsidies. I have applied for a sheep weight crate and cattle scale for putting under the crush,” he continued. “For so long we have made decisions about things such as worming on guess work but now can know exactly how much to dose our livestock and track their performance. I wouldn’t have been able to buy these things for another few years, so this scheme gets us ahead of the game.”
  • Crofter Calum Nicolson on the Isle of Lewis added: “I thought the scheme was straightforward and a far easier way of applying for a grant instead of having to obtain like for like quotes. It would be interesting if they could expand the items and include for example a standard cost for agricultural sheds.” Mr Nicolson did however admit that having to pay out the full amount in advance would put people off applying as not many would have the cash flow.
  • South west of Scotland dairy farmer Colin Ferguson felt the scheme missed a real opportunity to transform Scottish agriculture: “SACGS has provided a blank cheque for farming, allowing those who haven’t adopted new technologies to catch up. It is not transformative for Scottish agriculture but instead transformative for farmers bank accounts. How does a crush make you more carbon friendly? It should be encouraging farmers to do carbon audits but instead favours old technologies over new innovations. It is aimed at pulling up the slow adaptors that live from one grant scheme to the next.”
  • Midlothian-based arable farmer Anthony Kinch applied but agreed that the scheme wasn’t forward thinking: “I really struggled to find something useful to my business that we didn’t already have or could justify as it’s using old technologies of bolting GPS equipment on rather than my aim to move to more modern technology that has it already built in! A lot of this bolt on GPS equipment has lead to a rise in farm thefts." Mr Kinch added: “My older sixteen-year Case tractor could qualify for new tyres but will be replaced in the next couple of year so pointless fitting new tyres as they have to stay on the farm for five years.”
  • Jane Cooper told The SF that she didn’t apply to the scheme as she had just recently spent a lot of money on electric fencing including a £400 solar energiser: “I don't need any more kit to carry on my regenerative grazing to the max,” she said, agreeing that the scheme was aimed at those who aren’t already embracing sustainable farming.
  • Ayrshire based farmer Andrew Sykes runs a herd of Hereford cattle and similarly said the scheme was too late: “The things we really need; crush, scale, calving cameras, we already have, others; calving gates for aggressive cows we don’t need as our cows aren’t aggressive." Mr Sykes wasn’t convinced on the sustainability benefits of the scheme, adding: “In as much as it can ease handling and observing the animals perhaps it helps a little. Would help new starters with initial equipment purchase and so encourage good practice in herd and flock management.”