Date lodged: 9 July 2018
To ask the Scottish Government what action it will take to assist farmers that may be experiencing challenges due to the recent dry weather.
Answered by: Fergus Ewing 6 August 2018
The Scottish Government is working with NFU Scotland to support SEPA to disseminate information to farmers, crofters and land managers on how to avoid problems and minimise impact resulting from water extraction and irrigation practice.
We will continue to monitor the situation on a weekly basis and discuss the position when the Agricultural Weather Advisory Panel next meets on 8 August. The Panel was established by the Scottish Government in December 2017 to act as a taskforce for rapidly sharing information, best practice and encouraging co-operation across industry to help farmers and crofters respond effectively to challenging weather conditions, both in the short term and in building longer term resilience.
To date, the Agricultural Weather Advisory Panel has progressed a number of actions. For example, it has extended the scope of support under the Scottish Government’s Farm Advisory Service to include: specialist advice for farmers and crofters through the National Advice Line; face to face advice on feed budgeting; and delivery of a number of one-to-many resilience workshop events. In addition, the Farm Advisory Service has issued a number of technical advice notes and updates on how to better cope with weather events, including advice on responding to prolonged dry periods. We have welcomed the campaign being conducted by NFU Scotland and others to encourage farm businesses to plan now for their autumn and winter feed needs.