This week saw another important development on the new CAP, with the publication of a new set of details on the Pillar 1 greening rules. For a few weeks now we’ve had a Frequently Asked Questions page on our website covering greening, and we have now been able to give it a significant update as some new decisions were announced.
These decisions included the details of the management rules which, as the Cabinet Secretary announced in June, will apply to Nitrogen-fixing crops, like peas and beans, if farmers want to use them as Environmental Focus Areas (EFA). The thinking behind these rules is that because we have such a small budget for Pillar 1 of the CAP, Mr Lochhead decided last year to limit the transfer from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2 to 9.5%; but that in turn limits the budget we have available in Pillar 2, meaning we need to wring as much environmental benefit as we can out of the Pillar 1 payments.
We are also in the process of dealing with comments from the European Commission on the earlier decisions we notified by the deadline of 1 August – and eagerly awaiting their formal comments, which we hope to receive soon, on the new SRDP which we submitted in June. This is an important part of the process to get the new SRDP approved, which we need to do before we can open schemes for applications.
Clearly it’s vital that farmers, crofters and others are able to keep abreast of developments, and my colleagues in the Scottish Government’s Rural Payments and Inspections Division (RPID) are looking to make use of every possible channel of communication.
To that end, RPID recently launched a new Facebook page – ‘Rural Matters’. You can sign up for the latest RPID news – such as updates on deadlines for scheme applications and Ministerial events – as well as videos and interviews with farmers, crofters and RPID staff out and about on farms and visiting rural projects across Scotland.
The team are keen to hear from people involved in the rural industry with suggestions for content and ideas for rural stories that are happening in your area, and can be contacted via RPIDRovingReporter@scotland.gsi.gov.uk