Agriculture MEP welcomes NFU manifesto

Alyn Smith MEP, Scotland's only full member of the
European Parliament's Agriculture Committee, has pledged to implement 100% of the National Farmers Union's European election manifesto, which
was launched yesterday in Brussels.
 
The manifesto highlights a number of issues of concern to Scottish farmers, including CAP reform, food labelling, less burdensome regulation, and the reform of the Less Favoured Area scheme. Smith has
already worked closely with the NFU and Scottish farmers on every one
of the issues raised in the manifesto and has a solid track record of
getting results for Scotland's farmers.
 
Speaking after the launch and having digested the document, Smith said:
 
"If anything, the NFU is being a bit restrained, and can expect more
from Scotland's representatives in Europe than the warms words and
vague promises this document invites. It does not read like anything
drafted at Ingliston. It will hardly be difficult for all aspiring MEPs
to commit to bluster against "bad regulation", the question is whether
they will follow through when the devil will be, as it always is, in
the detail.
 
"However, my simple answer to the NFU Manifesto is: "Aye, I'll do all of it, and more besides."
 
"I'm glad that there is agreement about the way forward for Scottish
and European agriculture, and pleased SNP policy chimes so well with
the aims of NFU in this election, if only our friends south of the
border could vote for us! Regardless of whether the Lisbon Treaty comes
into effect, it seems likely that one way or the other the European
Parliament will gain co-decision powers in agriculture in the new
parliament, and thus it is vital that Scottish farming is represented
by credible individuals. Since joining the Agriculture committee just
over two years ago I've worked hard on issues like mandatory country of
origin labelling; ensuring that CAP reform does not discriminate
against Scottish farmers; transport rules; fallen stock regs; Brazilian
beef imports; animal by-products; and can say hand on heart I have led
the campaign against the individual identification of sheep agreed to
by the UK government years ago but now clearly hugely damaging if
implemented.
 
"I'm particularly pleased to see that the NFU have drawn attention to a number of issues on which the Scottish Government have been active, such as working to restore fairness to the supply chain, and on
encouraging farmers to capitalise on the opportunities provided by the
transition to a low carbon society. Even tomorrow SNP Spring Conference
will debate a measure to introduce a Scottish labelling scheme to
encourage consumers to buy Scottish and local, helping our farmers in
difficult times.
 
"I've worked closely with Scottish farming organisations during my mandate: I have led several delegations of Scottish farmers to the Commission to discuss issues like individual ID of sheep, and have guided a delegation of the Agriculture Committee through Scotland to
give them a better understanding of the issues facing Scottish agriculture. It's been a privilege working with them, and I hope to have the opportunity to continue our close relationship after the elections."