Farmers are being ‘urged’ to opt in for a loan scheme from the Scottish Government which is worth around £337m to the farming industry.
The loan from the Scottish Government is aiming to help offer farmers certainty ahead as Scotland moves out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The then rural economy secretary, Fergus Ewing, said: “Today I have set out our timetable for when we aim to start making payments through our Payment Strategy for 2021, providing financial support and certainty needed to continue their work and support our wider rural economy.
“It is important to note that we set this strategy with confidence that we will meet these timelines but there are some risks to delivery that remain. But we will do everything we can to ensure farmers and crofters get their support payments on time, as we have done this year.”
This is the first year that farmers have the chance to opt-in online for the scheme and NFU Scotland are encouraging farmers to sign up by email or through the post.
NFU Scotland President Martin Kennedy said: “The announcement that Scotland’s farmers and crofters can access up 95 percent of their BPS and Greening payments from September this year will add certainty and stability across Scottish agriculture and the wider rural community at a time when businesses are adapting to the post-Brexit era and recovering from the impacts of the pandemic.
“Previous loan schemes have provided an invaluable boost to the rural economy each autumn, stimulating investment in farms and crofts across the country. This year, as we recover from Covid-19, the scheme will also provide much-needed cash flow ahead of our first winter since leaving Europe and the CAP.
Around 17,000 are expected to receive the loan which is why it is worth as much as it is.
Mr Kennedy added: “This is the tenth loan scheme of this kind to be delivered by Scottish Government and processes have continued to improve with each scheme. The ability to opt in online adds a new, speedier option for farmers and crofters to accept their offer while the traditional email and postal options remain available. I would urge all to opt into this year’s scheme and to do so online where possible to ensure payments are processed and made as soon as possible.
“Many farmers and crofters will be looking seriously at cash flows this autumn, particularly in areas where dry weather this summer has meant a significant amount of planning around availability of feed, fodder and bedding and this loan scheme will be a huge help.
“For many, the Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme is also critical to the viability of their business, and we will be asking Scottish Government to once again deliver an LFASS loan scheme this coming winter, as they have done in recent years.”
The Scottish Government have more information available on: https://www.ruralpayments.org/media/resources/NBPSS-2021-Q-and-A—180821.pdf
As well as guidance on how to register for the loan: https://www.ruralpayments.org/media/resources/Accepting-your-loan-offer—NBPSS-2021.pdf