FOR Scottish farmers, the knowledge they will be able to apply for 80 per cent of their Basic Payment Scheme cash in November may provide some confidence.
For others it will be an acknowledgement of a lack of confidence in the payment system and the Government’s ability to deliver the money after a tumultuous round of IT problems last time out.
There is also caution in the fact no guarantees have been made as to whether the cash will be paid by the end of the payment window next June.
Common Agricultural Policy support is only support once it actually arrives in the bank account; until then it is an intangible offering from the Government.
The problem is that if a farmer turned round to a feed merchant or fertiliser supplier and assured them they would be paid, but failed to tell them when or how, there would be very little sympathy, no matter how tough the circumstances.
It will still be a similar situation for some in England and Wales who have disputed claims and are scrabbling for cash after another tough year, regardless of the gloss the current uplift in some prices has provided.
It is vital lessons really are learned from the payment shambles of the past year and that farmers receive the support payments which are often crucial to their livelihoods.
Attempts to secure future direct payments as part of a British agricultural policy will not have been helped this week with yet another attack on so called intensive farming by the conservation lobby, but if they are to remain a better system of delivery is needed.
The subsidy environment will no doubt change over the coming years, but farmers need telling clearly what to expect and when to expect it as no business can properly operate in a morass of uncertainty.
Let’s hope the words of the UK governments do not prove to be cheap and payment lessons really have been heeded as we head toward the back end of the year.
If inspiration about the power and allure of farming is what you’re after, read this week’s article about Jemma Harding. A true tale of overcoming the odds and following a farming dream.