For those interested in the future of farming in Scotland this Interim report from the Pack Inquiry is important reading. It is available to download from the Scottish Government's website.
The direction the Inquiry is taking appears to be to support the continuation of direct farming support (Pillar 1) but be moving towards increased accountability to the public and an increasing level of justification. The Rural Development Programme will continue to provide public goods and an additional mechanism will be required for disadvantaged areas to maintain the viability of the farm businesses in these areas. A direct payment top-up fund is also being considered to fund activities that achieve specified outcomes (see Report p40) or the fund could be used to support particular sectors.
Other issues being considered are a move away from the historic model, more support for new entrants, encouragement for the beef sector and the introduction of minimum grazing levels under GAEC to reduce the impact of destocking.
There will be a series of workshops around the country to obtain views.