Farming's National test programme on way

Scotland’s National Test Programme – the benchmark exercise designed to bookmark farming’s current environmental credentials – will begin to be phased in during 2022.

The Scottish Government yesterday released a statement on its vision for Scotland to be recognised as a ‘leader in sustainable and regenerative farming’.

And while farming and land owning organisations said that the publication of the administration’s plans for future policy direction was higher on aims and aspirations details, a broad timeline for the introduction of new policy was outlined.

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2022 will see Track 1 of the proposed changes introduced with a “phased approach” to rolling out measures for recipients of farm support payments, with the aim that measures such as soil testing, nutrient plans, carbon audits and animal health plans will become a mandatory requirement for accessing support.

“This will enable the shift to at least half of all payments being made conditional within current payment schemes and will inform design of types and levels of conditionality in future payment schemes,” said rural affairs secretary, Mairi Gougeon.

Track 2 will set up pilot projects designed to test, improve and standardise the tools, support and process necessary to reward farmers, crofters and land managers for the climate and biodiversity outcomes they deliver, on an ongoing basis between 2022-25.

Consultation on the new Agriculture Bill will also begin in the summer of 2022 - aiming to put replacement framework and legislation in place for implementation from 2026.



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