LFA - Update
Meeting held in Brussels on Monday 25th June 2012.
Alyn Smith MEP for Scotland, member of the European Parliament's Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, has welcomed John Cameron and George Milne of the National Sheep Association to the European Parliament in Brussels to present their recently published paper on the complementary role of sheep in less favoured areas.
The publication looks at the value of sheep farming specifically, but is accompanied by information about the role that sheep farming has in terms of environmental benefits like landscape management; public benefits like flood management and protecting water supplies; social benefits and economic benefits.
Speaking from Brussels, Alyn said:
"I'm delighted to have John and George here in Parliament to present this excellent paper to my colleagues on the Agriculture and the Environment Committees.
"As the Parliament is, at this moment, rolling forward with discussions on the new Common Agricultural Policy, the NSA have produced this report in good time. Documents like this one inform the debate and raise the often overlooked profile that sheep farming in less favoured areas has, as well as highlighting some of the difficulties that our sheep farmers face.
"While I am not shy about shouting about the benefits of grass-fed, extensive and sustainable sheep farming, it is useful to have such a well-researched and accessible document to point others to. For me, sheep farming has some very clear benefits, but research into the less well-known aspects of sheep farming - the health benefits and the role of sheep farming in water management, for example - especially in our most remote areas, is particularly valuable.
"I thank John and George for coming and for their work on this report."
George Milne said “the timing of being able to present the paper was very relevant to the topics which were being discussed in detail by the Agricultural Committee on CAP reform. The paper expresses the need for many parts of the Less Favoured Area land across the UK & Scotland to become exempt from many of the greening proposals.”
President John Cameron said “we were able to take advantage of an occasion when the full Agricultural Committee held a debate on CAP reform. We were able to emphasis the importance of sheep in the LFAs not only from the productivity aspect but also the contribution which the LFAs make to the environment and very importantly to the maintenance of the social fabric in these fragile areas.”
George Milne said “we also took advantage of the occasion to once again emphasise the need to have a review of the EID regulation”.