In a letter to be published in the Scottish Farmer today, Scottish agriculture leaders have joined together to call for a vote to Remain in the European Union next Thursday.
The letter is signed by former NFU Scotland Presidents John Cameron, Ian Grant, George Lyon, Nigel Miller and Jim Walker; Director of the Scottish Tenant Farmers Association, Angus McCall; Chairman of AgriScot & former Chair of the NFU Scotland cereals committee, Andy Moir; and Chairman of Angus Soft Fruits, Lochy Porter.
Extracts of the letter are:
"On Thursday we decide whether to remain or leave the EU.
For Scottish farmers the stakes could not be higher.
The financial support for farm businesses, access to export markets for Scottish lamb beef and cereal exports, and the future competitiveness of our industry are all on the line.
Whether you love or hate the EU, it delivered 74 per cent of farmers' income in 2015 and their markets took 40 per cent of our sheep meat and substantial quantities of quality Scotch beef.
Remaining part of the EU is the only way to guarantee these advantages will continue.
Owen Paterson MP of Leave promises farmers they will still continue to receive the same financial support. Yet Boris’s bus has emblazoned on the side of it that all the EU money will go to save the NHS! Completely contradicting Paterson.
Leaving means we lose the unfettered access to our prime export markets.
Countries such as Norway only secure the same access to EU markets as we do by paying the same EU membership fees, implementing the same EU rules such as sheep tagging but have no say over the rules.
No doubt many are scunnered with the form filling, the failure of the Scottish Government’s shambolic IT system and some may be tempted to say 'to hell with it' and vote to leave the EU.
We would urge everyone to think hard about the long term damage that would do to Scottish Agriculture.
A vote to Remain in the EU is the best way to secure the future prosperity of our industry and we would urge everyone to vote to stay In on Thursday."