Orkney's MSP, Liam McArthur, has welcomed the creation of the Agriculture Reform Implementation Oversight Board (ARIOB) which will be tasked with developing new proposals for sustainable farming.
The Scottish Government announced today (Wednesday) that the ARIOB will be co-chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, Mairi Gougeon, and NFU Scotland’s President, Martin Kennedy, who said "the time for delivery on a new agricultural policy for Scotland is now."
The ARIOB will consider recommendations from the government’s five Farmer-led Climate Change Groups (FLGs) which published their recommendations for suckler beef, dairy, pigs, arable, hill farming, uplands and crofting in March. The new board will also deliver an agreement on a national test programme in time for the CoP26 climate change conference being hosted in Glasgow in November, with the scheme in place by Spring 2022.
Commenting, Mr McArthur said:
"Today's announcement of a new board tasked with developing future agricultural policy has been a long time coming. Farmers in Orkney, and across country, have for some time now been calling out for greater detail from the government about future agricultural policy and support schemes.
"I welcome the establishment of this board which represents Scotland's diverse agricultural sector. It will be important, however, that it takes proper account of the different circumstances and approaches to agriculture across the country, in particular the unique needs of island communities.
"This will be essential for Orkney to be able to play its part in achieving our bold targets on cutting emissions, increasing biodiversity and building a more sustainable future for the sector, while remaining a lynchpin of Scotland’s wider food and drink sector."