Candidates say we must support Aberdeenshire farmers

Central Buchan candidates for May’s council election have joined local farmers in calling for urgent action on the spiralling cost of arable and livestock farming.

By John A. MacInnes
Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 8:52 am
Steve Owen and Hannah Powell with Peter Chapman
Steve Owen and Hannah Powell with Peter Chapman

Scottish Conservatives Hannah Powell and Steve Owen spoke with farmer and former MSP Peter Chapman about the "shock" to local farming caused by dramatic increases in fertiliser, transport and feed costs over the last year.

The NFU have reported that nitrogen fertiliser, essential to farming arable land, is linked to the increase in gas prices and is now said to be up 200% from last year.

Hannah said: “Farmers across the country have seen their costs increase dramatically over the past year.

“We are all familiar with the energy cost crisis, but not as familiar with what will happen to food prices if farmers aren’t supported.

“One thing we can do is buy local, which reduces costs and cuts out the middle-man on the way to the dinner table.”

Steve said: “What also needs to happen right now is for the Scottish Government to act to ensure food security for the coming year, as crop yields will inevitably be down.

“To mitigate that, Holyrood must commit greater funding to the Sustainable Agricultural Capital Grant Scheme.

“Farmers need our support to meet their increased costs and to ensure their sustainability for many generations to come.”

Peter Chapman commented: “What has happened over the past few months with fertiliser and fuel costs has shocked the farming community.

“Central Buchan has farming at its heart and we must support farmers now.”

Peter Chapman (Jnr) of Chapman Farms, is confident 2022 will be fine thanks to the purchase of fertiliser last year, but what he’s really concerned about is 2023.He said: "Farmers need to be sure that planting next year’s crops will be worth their while. If fertiliser and red diesel are at their current levels and supermarkets aren’t prepared to increase payments, then why would we continue to plant?

"The Scottish Government can support us by putting a plan in place now in order to protect next year’s food.”