A sustained period of bad weather has led NFU Scotland to deliver a series of asks to the Scottish Government, including a grant scheme to build inclement weather resilience in the sector.

The organisation argues that agricultural businesses across Scotland, along with many businesses upstream and downstream that rely on them, have suffered as a result of sustained cold and wet weather.

The letter points out that lambing and calving have been extremely challenging this year and that losses, late turnout and additional feeding requirements have resulted in significant financial and emotional pressures.

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In the letter, president Martin Kennedy says: “Farming and crofting have always been at the mercy of the weather, and it is obvious that every agricultural business must adapt and build resilience in the face of more extreme and less predictable weather.

“In helping to achieve that, we consider that the Scottish Government can and should act in the short and medium term to protect then enhance our unique role in the provision of food and public goods – a productive and resilient agriculural sector is key to the economic, environmental and social wellbeing of Scotland.”

In the short-term the NFUS asks for a temporary suspension of all farm-based inspection requirements; a pragmatic approach to enforcement of environmental regulations; temporary derogation from Ecological Focus Area; an immediate review of the water environment regulations and the creation of beaver exclusion zones.

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In the medium-term, the union asks for the return of £46 million of still outstanding uncommitted funds to the agri portfolio. As part of this, £40m be returned to top up the basic payment scheme.

Finally, that £6m be spent as capital through a grant scheme open to all agricultural businesses to build resilience to weather extremes.