Climate- and nature-friendly farming

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You reap what you sow. It’s that simple.  

We are calling on the next Scottish Government to transform Scotland’s food system in a fair and just way with climate and nature-friendly farming at its heart. 

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Policy 1

A transformative agriculture policy which is outcome focused, better suited to a Scottish context and which delivers nature and climate-friendly farming.

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Why?

Farmers in Scotland are at the frontline of climate change. Not only because they suffer the impacts, but because they are custodians of Scotland’s land - our biggest natural defence against climate change. 

Agriculture is the dominant land use in Scotland and is associated with almost a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions. The way we support farmers to manage our land in the future will be a big part of changing this.  

How?

We are calling for the transformation of Scottish agriculture to deliver ‘public goods’ and enable and reward nature and climate-friendly farming. Supporting activities such as woodland creation, peatland restoration and better soil management will help nature thrive, lock in carbon and support climate adaptation, whilst building resilience, and bringing benefits for farmers and food production. 

A reformed support system makes economic sense too. Nearly half of farms generate less than the minimum agricultural wage and the Scottish agricultural sector barely breaks even without subsidy. As the UK leaves the European Union, Scotland needs to bring forward a new programme of policy and support that is fit for purpose. 

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Policy 2

A bigger and more diversified Rural Advisory Service to provide new jobs, training and skills, that support sustainable land use.

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WHY?

Scotland’s land has a vital role to play in the fight against climate change and nature loss, with more land available to support nature restoration and soak up carbon than the rest of the UK. 

Maximising our land’s potential requires a skills, knowledge and advice revolution, with investment in upskilling and training for sustainable land use change, bringing with it more rural job opportunities.  

HOW?

Training and employment of more farm advisors that understand both farming and wider land use challenges, via a bigger and more diversified Rural Advisory Service, would provide effective outreach to farmers and land-managers.  

Rural job opportunities would also be boosted by a diversified service, with potential for a rural skills and jobs matching scheme, including financial support for wages. This should target those who are unemployed, underemployed or who are at risk of unemployment as a result of the current economic crisis – and offer upskilling, reskilling and skills diversification opportunities. 

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Policy 3

A healthier, fair and more sustainable food system via a Good Food Nation Bill, including publication of a National Food Plan by 2022.

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Why?

Do you know where the food on your plate comes from? The food we eat has climate and nature impacts right through its journey from farm to fork to landfill.  

Currently, the way we produce and consume food is contributing to habitat loss, biodiversity decline and climate change. But it doesn’t have to be like this. 

How?

With its world-renowned food and drink sector, Scotland has a unique opportunity to lead the way in transforming food production to be fair to people, animals and the environment. In addition, we can tackle childhood obesity, reduce food poverty and secure fairer wages for farmers and other food sector workers. 

The next Scottish Government should therefore commit to bring forward a Good Food Nation Bill, alongside a National Food Plan with targets, to tackle interlinked issues across the whole food system. 

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