LIVESTOCK COMPENSATORY ALLOWANCE SUCCESSOR
SCHEME: LESS FAVOURED AREA SUPPORT SCHEME
The Agenda 2000 Reforms have changed the basis
on which support for farmers in the Less Favoured Areas (LFAs)
can be provided. In future, LFA support payments must comply with
the Rural Development Regulation (RDR). This requires the payments
to be made on an area, rather than a headage basis. However, delays
in introducing the RDR mean that special interim arrangements
were made for Headage-based Livestock Compensatory Allowance (HLCAs)
payments to be made in 2000 only. The new area-based arrangements,
to be known as Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS) payments
will be introduced in 2001.
A new area-based LFASS arrangement forms part
of SERAD's Rural Development Programme (RDP), which was approved
by the Commission on 24 October 2000. It is intended that payments
under the scheme will be made in early 2001, in line with other
parts of Great Britain.
LFASS will be partly funded by the EU and is
designed to continue effective support arrangements towards the
maintenance of the social fabric and employment in upland rural
communities through support for continued and sustainable agricultural
activity. The objectives of the Scheme are:
to ensure continued land use and
thereby contribute to the maintenance of a viable rural communities;
to maintain the countryside; and
to maintain and support sustainable
farming systems which, in particular, take account of environmental
The statutory authority for LFASS and the RDP
is Council Regulation 1257/99 and Council Regulation 1750/1999.
Appropriate legislation will be made in the Scottish Parliament
to set detailed arrangements in place.
Claimants will be expected to submit an IACS
area aid application in the year prior to the LFASS payment. They
must farm at least three hectares of forage land within the designated
Less Favoured Areas of Scotland. Eligible activities are:
dairy herds in the ring-fenced quota
farmed deer breeding herds; and
herds of cashmere goats or alpaca
kept for fibre production.
Payments per hectare for 2001, as approved by
the Commission, will be:
Moorland Farms: £6.10 to £30.40
Southern Upland Farms: £7.90
to £39.40 per hectare; and
Northern Upland Farms: £9.00
to £45 per hectare.
The lower rate will be paid on rough grazings
and the higher rate on improved pasture with a minimum stocking
density per farm category to avoid over-compensation.
In addition, there are two environmental components
which will allow producers to qualify for enhancements to the
basic rates. These are a supplementary payment to extensive Mixed
Farms where stocking density is 0.65 livestock units (lus) per
hectare or less, and where cattle account for at least 10
per cent of eligible lus. In this event the rate
will be increased by £2.50 per hectare.
Further, in Moorland Farms, with mixed stocking,
where cattle account for 10 per cent or more of the total lus,
there will be an additional payment of £3.00 per eligible
To allow for hill farmers to adjust to the new
payments, and to take advantage of other income schemes that may
build up under the RDP, a safety net mechanism will cushion those
farmers who will lose money with the new arrangements as compared
to the former ones. In 2001, the safety net guarantees that no
farmer will receive less than 90 per cent of the 2000 payment
paid under HLCA, provided the forage area does not decline. In
2002, the safety net falls to 80 per cent on the same basis. In
2001, the safety net is calculated either on the basis of 50 per
cent of the difference between the entitlement under the new arrangements
and the year 2000 payment or the safety net element paid in 2002,
whichever is the smaller.