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Just days left to apply for Scottish suckler beef support scheme 2017

Farmers are being reminded to apply for the Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme (SSBSS) ahead of the December 31 deadline.

Applications for the scheme can be made online through the rural payments website or on paper.

The scheme gives direct support to specialist beef producers. It has an annual budget of €38 million for beef calves born on the Scottish mainland and €6.6 million for claims from the Scottish islands.

Support is available on male and female calves providing they are at least 75 per cent beef bred. Calves must have been born on a Scottish holding and kept there for 30 days. That means animals born on or after December 2 2017 are not eligible until next scheme year.

Claims will have been made throughout the year and there is no limit to the number of claims you can make by 31 December. The rate paid per animal is determined each scheme year by the number of eligible animals claimed.

NFU Scotland’s President Andrew McCornick said: “We are keen for all farmers who are eligible for the scheme to make their applications before the deadline at the end of the month. If you are uncertain about your eligibility, then I would urge you to contact your local department office.

“This coupled support payment is vital for Scotland’s beef producers. Beef production is expensive, and this scheme helps target money to farmers who are incurring the costs.

“As we head towards Brexit, we need to maintain our iconic beef industry. These payments offer support which helps to underpin our cattle numbers. This is going to be key if we are to take full advantage of new opportunities.”

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