Scotland: Study shows public support for green farming
The public gives full backing to changes in agricultural policy that encourage farmers to take better care of the environment, according to an independent study into public attitudes towards agriculture.
The Scottish taxpayer takes a very positive view of the role agriculture plays in the countryside and supports the new system of subsidy payment which backs environment and rural development.
The public showed most support for policies relating to the promotion of locally grown food, enhanced quality of lochs, rivers and wetlands, enhancing wildlife habitats and maintaining farming communities.
Farming subsidies are designed to ensure that the methods used help to deliver cleaner water, enhanced wildlife habitats, attractive landscapes and support wider rural development.
Findings from the report, conducted by the Scottish Agricultural College with Biothematics and Statistics Scotland, mirror the principles behind the Executive's Forward Strategy for Scottish Agriculture and the reforms to European Common Agriculture Policy.
Both place greater emphasis on the provision of environmental goods and measures for rural development.
Later this week Minister for the Environment and Rural Development, Ross Finnie will set out new plans under the Single Farm Payment Scheme which will raise general environmental standards in farming practice.
The Executive is also undertaking a consultation on Land Management Contracts which set out the range of social, environmental and economic benefits that farmers should consider delivering under a new system of agricultural support.