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Scot slams Ireland's SFP stance

A leading Scottish agriculture official has expressed surprise that Ireland wanted to retain the historical 2000-2003 base for Single Farm Payments (SFP) beyond 2013.

Brian Pack, a keynote speaker at last week's ICOS marts conference, said that feedback from both the EU Commission and the European Parliament indicated that basing future payments on activity of more than a decade ago was simply not credible.

He suggested that Ireland adopt a different approach to protecting its SFP envelope.

However the Scot, chosen by his own government to review and propose the best SFP package for Scotland, said that EU policymakers were now much better disposed to support EU food production. He predicted that the value of the overall budget for CAP could be sustained beyond 2013.

For Scotland, he proposed directing the SFP into payment on suckler calves. The payment ranged from €135 to €220/hd.

This would involve the enhancement of the existing Scottish Beef Calf Scheme in the Disadvantaged Areas. In addition, a minimum stocking density for flat-rate land payments has been proposed.

Mr Pack's report suggested a top-up payment of €6,400 per labour unit on a farm.

Mr Pack has held a number of senior agribusiness positions in Scotland, including CEO of the ANM group of marts and beef plants. He was awarded an OBE for his services to Agriculture and Food in 1999.

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