Farmers Views Sought on Impact of CAP Reform

Letters asking farmers to participate in a survey on CAP reform are even now arriving at farms and crofts around Scotland. Researchers from SRUC are urging them not to tuck it behind the clock and forget about it, but to take part and ensure their voices are heard by policy makers.

Teams from SRUC and the James Hutton Institute are collecting data on farmers’ intentions in light of coming reform that will help government ministers decide how future CAP money should be spent. 

As there is a lot of uncertainty regarding what will happen to land use policy in Scotland in the near future the purpose of the short telephone survey is to find out just what farmers plan to do in the coming years. Questions include how farmers and land managers would react to lower or higher payments than they currently receive, how they are preparing for any possible change, and how the on-going uncertainty over the reform has affected their business.

Dr Andrew Barnes, Team Leader from SRUC’s Innovation and Behaviour Research Team, says: “We want to assess the general mood in farming. What do agricultural land managers see happening in the next ten years? If their payments decrease what will they do? Will they leave the sector? Or if payments increased, how would they plan for the next ten years.”

This research is being carried out on behalf of the Scottish Government and so the findings could have a real impact on coming decisions around agricultural spending. Although reform will not be finalised until later in the year, collecting this data now will provide a strong evidence base for those deciding future policy.

Dr Barnes says: “I would seriously urge farmers to take the time to take part in this telephone survey. Many other organisations, such as Scottish Land and Estates, NFUS and the Scottish Crofters Foundation will of course be making the case for farming when agreement on CAP reform is reached. However, this survey gives individual farmers the chance to make their views known. The evidence collected could guide ministers’ decisions when the time comes."

Farmers will be receiving ‘opt-out’ letters now asking them to participate in the short telephone survey which will begin in May. If you wish to participate in the survey then there is nothing you have to do. Any farmer who wishes not to take part in the survey should return the form in the envelope provided.

Published on 19 April 2013 in Sustainability and Communities