A team from NFU Scotland led by president Allan Bowie met Brexit Minister David Jones this week to discuss Scottish farming’s needs in a post-Brexit world.
Mr Bowie was keen to stress the differences between Scotland and the rest of the UK and called for any new UK agricultural policy to be flexible enough to allow the devolved regions to respond to their unique circumstances.
He said: “There is strong recognition that Scottish agriculture’s needs from Brexit negotiations will differ from the rest of the UK and this must be a factor under any future arrangements. There are already marked differences between different parts of the UK.
“In Scotland, for example, we have opted to use part of our existing support package to target key sectors like beef and hill sheep and the ability of Scotland to make such decisions will clearly need to be maintained.”
His comments came as the SNP wrote to Scottish Secretary David Mundell to call for more powers and Kezia Dugdale, leader of Scottish Labour, said agriculture should be a completely devolved matter.
Mr Mundell has already said leaving the EU will ‘fundamentally change’ the devolved settlement in Scotland.
Drew Scott, professor of European Studies at the University of Edinburgh and key adviser to the Scottish Government before the independence referendum, has also said farming should be a matter for Holyrood post-Brexit.
He said: “If it were to be the case that Britain left the EU, competence for farming would come back to the Scottish Parliament, full stop.
“It would have to be financed, so a new financial deal would have to be agreed between Edinburgh and London to pay for farming, which of course is not at all included in the current Smith negotiations or anything preceding that.”