Smith Hails Agriculture Endorsement Of SNP Government

28 January 2008
Scotland's only full member of the European Parliament Agricultural Committee Mr Alyn Smith has today (Monday) welcomed publication of the Lloyds TSB Agricultural Survey and congratulated Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead MSP on a ringing endorsement from Scotland's farmers.

As an example of the ongoing close partnership between the SNP in all Parliaments and Scotland's farmers, Mr Smith facilitated a meeting between a top level delegation from the National Farmers Union with Agriculture Commissioner Fischer-Boel in Brussels to discuss CAP reform.

Speaking from Brussels Mr Smith said:

"After such a difficult year for Scotland's farmers, it is a real pleasure to see that there is such optimism in the trade. In the wake of Foot and Mouth, Blue Tongue disease, flooding and poor harvests, it is remarkable to see such positive results. Findings like these are a testament to the hard work and dedication of those in the agricultural sector.

"Much credit must also go to the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Richard Lochhead. The SNP promised to stand up for Scotland and Scottish farmers, and that is what we have done. Richard in particular has been instrumental in ensuring that the best interests of the agricultural sector are to the fore.

"However, while I am delighted to see that there is such optimism for the future, the survey has also highlighted areas where there is need for change. Recruitment is of particular concern, and this is something that the SNP is committed to improving. I will continue to push for European funds to help support initiatives that aim to break down barriers into the industry, such as the new entrants scheme."