CROFTERS with fewer than 40 calves can look forward to increased payments as Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead announced this week a new plans to replace the current Scottish Beef Calf Scheme.
And the new initiative – the Scottish Beef Scheme – has been welcomed by Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan who believes it will benefit crofters in Scotland’s most disadvantaged communities.
Said Dr Allan: “Although three-quarters of Scotland’s breeding cows are in ‘severely disadvantaged’ parts of Scotland, the bulk of the money paid out under the old Scottish Beef Calf Scheme currently goes to much more fertile parts of Scotland.
“I welcome Richard Lochhead’s efforts to rebalance this situation,” he continued. “Under the revised scheme a crofter with 10 calves should see payment increase by 25%; a crofter with 20 calves will see payment increase by 11% and a crofter with 30 calves will see payment increase by 4%.
“Crofters benefit from only a tiny share of Scotland’s agricultural subsidies and I hope that these changes can provide a small, but significant, move towards shifting the balance,” Dr Allan added.