Sir, – I agree with most, but not all of the contents of Hamish Waugh's letter in last week's issue of The SF regarding saying 'No' to headage payments.

Firstly, I have not come across anyone who thinks it would be a good idea to go back to headage, mainly for the reasons clearly spelt out by Hamish, but it would also be unlikely to be allowed by Defra, or the EU to fit into any future planning by the Scottish Government for the countryside, or the industry.

I also think we need to be careful about future support going in large sums to so-called 'active farming'. It would seem it does not take a lot of effort to be deemed as an 'active farmer' and in many cases it is only a short step away from being a so-called slipper farmer.

We have to assume that we will be working with an ever smaller budget for support and the future for the Scottish countryside must be in rewarding livestock production. This would ensure a good health and welfare policy, better soil and grass management, and encourage young people into the industry – hopefully, with some sort of capitol grants scheme to make sure they have good and safe handling facilities for both sheep and cattle.

All these things are essential to produce, as well as employing, stocking at the correct density and ongoing investment in machinery and infrastructure.

So, get the support onto the calf and the lamb for the best return for the rural economy and let the public see what they are getting for their money.

Neil A McCorkindale

Chairman of the Scottish Beef Association.