Farming: Australian trade deal casts long shadow over Highland Show

While the judging continued at yesterday’s Royal Highland Showcase event, a pall was cast over the proceedings by the news that the UK Government had effectively rubber-stamped the controversial trade deal with Australia.

Martin Kennedy warned of the deal’s impact on farmers
Martin Kennedy warned of the deal’s impact on farmers

And farming bodies were quick to point out that the ‘agreement in principle’ did nothing to provide lasting assurances that Scottish farmers would not bear the brunt of deal.

NFU Scotland yesterday said the deal would ultimately provide Australia with unfettered access to UK food and drink markets – through a deal that had been given no proper parliamentary scrutiny. The organisation also claimed that the way the UK Government went about the process set a dangerous precedent for future trade deals – with the potential that the cumulative impact of all such deals on Scottish farmers and crofters will be substantial.

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And the union said that a 15 years cap meant nothing more than a slight delay to granting free access to UK markets to one of the biggest agricultural exporters in the world.

“The deal has not been afforded the appropriate level of scrutiny and consultation and has been agreed in advance of the promised statutory Trade and Agriculture Commission being established to scrutinise such deals,” said union president, Martin Kennedy who warned of the cumulative effect of such deals.

“Parliamentarians must be given the opportunity to examine this deal, and any future deals, with Government carrying out a detailed impact assessment on what it may mean for the agriculture and food sectors.”

Speaking earlier this week at the Royal Highland Showcase, Scotland’s rural affairs cabinet secretary, Mairi Gougeon said the Scottish Government had still not seen any of the proposed details – despite the potential impact on the Scottish economy and the significance of the deal to farming and food production industries in Scotland and across the UK.

Gougeon also echoed calls from Scottish industry representatives for the UK Government to publish an assessment of the cumulative impact of Free Trade Agreements with Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.

Showcase Champions

Cattle

Continental cattle interbreed champion: Graham’s Precious, the 29-month-old Limousin heifer from Robert Graham, Airthrey Kerse, Bridge of Allan; reserve – Maerdy Morwr, the five-year old Charolais bull from AJR Farms, Farms, Milton of Colliston, Ellon.

Continental pairs: The Charolais from AJR Farms and Harestone Livestock, Banchory; reserve – Limousin from R Graham and McBeath/Jessop.

Charolais: AJR Farms, Milton of Colliston, Ellon with senior bull; reserve – J A Scott, Canonbie, Dumfriesshire with heifer.

Simmental: M and D Smith, Drumsleed, Lurencekirk with senior bull; reserve – Mr and MT Quarm’ s Annick herd, Irvine with heifer.

British Blues: Kevin Watret, Solway View, Annan with heifer; reserve – Thor Atkinson, Ulverston, Cumbria with heifer.

Limousin: R Graham, Airthrey Kerse, Bridge of Allan with heifer; reserve – D McBeath and SJ Jessop, Stirling, with senior bull.

British Blonde: Thor Atkinson, Ulverston. Cumbria with cow; reserve – L Laird and Sons, Lochhead, Fife with junior bull.

Sheep

Interbreed champion: Bluefaced Leicester (Crossing type) from Andrew McQuiston, New Luce, Dumfries and Galloway with ewe lamb; reserve – North Country Cheviot from J Runciman and Sons, Allanshaws, Galashiels with ewe.

Interbreed pars: North Country Cheviot from J Runciman and G Milne; reserve – Bluefaced Leicester traditional type from Low Arkland and Pinclanty.

North Country Cheviot: Champion and reserve: J Runciman and Sons, Allanshaws, Galashiels with ewe and gimmer.

Bluefaced Leicester (Crossing type): champion and reserve: Andrew McQuiston, New Luce, Dumfries and Galloway with ewe lamb and tup lamb.

Bluefaced Leicester (Traditional): K Smith, Low Arkland, Dumfriesshire with gimmer; reserve – DL & S Currie, Pinclanty, Girvan with senior tup.

Blackface: S & P Heads, Aitkenhead, Ayrshire with gimmer; reserve – C McArthur, Nunnerie, Elvanfoot with ewe.

Commercial sheep: Andrew Morton, Stirling with pair; reserve – Robert Bryce, Stirling with traditional cross.

Shetland: D Playfair, Kelso with ewe; reserve – D Alcorn, South Lanarkshire with ewe.

Hebridean: J & C Morley, Kirkdean, West Linton with senior ram; reserve – J & M Cuthbert, Ardoch Farm, Kinross.

Ryeland: Raymond Aitken, Inverurie with gimmer; reserve – A & D Mitchell, Wellhill Steadings, Ayrshire with ram.

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