NFU Scotland thanks first minister Humza Yousaf following his resignation 

NFU Scotland has thanked first minister Humza Yousaf for his service following the news of his resignation. 

NFU Scotland has thanked first minister Humza Yousaf for his service following the news of his resignation. 
Scotland Conference in Glasgow, photo by NFU Scotland.

The SNP leader is stepping down just over a year after he was elected. However, he confirmed that he will stay in place until a new party leader can be found.

MSP Yousaf was appointed Scotland’s first minister in March 2023, becoming the first ethnic minority leader of a devolved government and the first Muslim to lead a major UK party.

Earlier this year, during the NFU Scotland Conference in Glasgow, he reiterated the Scottish Government’s commitment that there would be “no cliff edges” in support as Scotland transitions between existing schemes and the introduction of the new four tier framework.

Period of turmoil

Following today’s news (29th April), NFU Scotland president Martin Kennedy thanked the first minister for his service and for having had the opportunity to meet with him several times since being elected.

NFU Scotland president Martin Kennedy.

He added: “While Scottish politics is in a period of turmoil, and the potential of confidence votes in Holyrood later this week, I can reassure Scotland’s farmers and crofters that we will remain resolutely focused on lobbying all political parties in the very best interests of Scottish food and farming.

“Regardless of what emerges in the coming days and weeks, there is legislation already making its way through the Scottish Parliament that is fundamental to delivering a sustainable and profitable future for Scottish farmers and crofters, and any political instability right now must not derail or delay its passage.”

Mr Kennedy added that political machinations will not detract from the union’s intention to secure the very best deal for its members.

“The Agriculture and Rural Communities (Scotland) Bill, the Land Reform Bill, and more will bring forward legislation that will, for many years to come, shape our ability to feed the nation whilst delivering our obligations around tackling climate change and enhancing nature. Specifically on the Agriculture Bill, it is imperative that the route map towards a new agricultural support framework must stay firmly on track,” he continued.

Producing more good quality Scottish food and drink 

Speaking at the NFUS Conference earlier this year, Mr Yousaf informed delegates that funding for Tiers 1 and 2 will constitute at least 70% of the overall funding envelope to support farming, crofting and land management from 2027.

These are the tiers that will reflect most closely the current direct payment regime that delivers schemes such as Basic Payment Scheme and Greening.

MSP Yousaf then said: “Producing more of our own food, doing so sustainably, creating of course more resilience in these uncertain times, is absolutely vital to our economic interests – in fact, to all of our interests.

Scotland’s first minister Humza Yousaf.

“What I mean by that is that some people who I talk to suggest that there is a conflict between what we’re trying to do in relation to the ‘Green agenda’ if you call it that, loosely, what we’re trying to do around sustainability, what we’re trying to do in terms of our journey to net zero, and producing our own food or farming and agriculture.

“My belief is that if we can reduce our emissions, particularly from any wasteful practices, any inefficiencies that there are in farming and agriculture, that is much better for the farmer’s bottom line and profitability, and good for the environment.

“So everybody wins in that regard. And I don’t want us to be producing any less – I want us to be producing more good quality Scottish food and drink.”

Responding at the time, NFUS welcomed Mr Yousaf’s pledges for agriculture but added that the hoops applicants had to jump through for some schemes were a disincentive.

It also commented on the uncertainties about agricultural funding beyond the end of the current parliament.

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