Chapter 11.2.1 Strategic approaches

Reform farming funding

Increase the proportion of funding that goes toward nature – and climate-friendly farming.

UK Govt
Scottish Govt
Local Authorities
Emissions reduction
Behaviour change

Agriculture is the largest use of land in Scotland, with around three-quarters of our land being farmed. Currently, less than 10% of public funding given to the industry pays for farming methods that support nature and tackle climate change. This must change. If we can transform how we farm, we can secure big wins for our wildlife and our climate emissions, while continuing to produce healthy food and provide rural jobs.

A major report produced by the RSPB, ‘A world richer in nature’, identified four specific actions for Scotland:

  • maintain the current level of public funding for farming but ensure most is spent on supporting land management and farming methods that are nature-friendly and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • increase the amount of funding spent on advice, knowledge transfer and training
  • increase the area of organic land from 2% to 10% by 2030
  • implement food system change through the Good Food Nation Act (2022) to support the transition toward more nature-friendly forms of agriculture

The Agriculture Bill is an opportunity to ensure farming policy is reformed and the more than half a billion pounds of farming subsidy handed out each year helps nature and our climate. The Agriculture Bill should include a “purpose clause” that places a duty on Ministers to ensure that all their actions related to agriculture (schemes, payments, etc) contribute to meeting emissions’ reduction targets and adaptation goals.

The Scottish Environment LINK farming campaign261 calls for at least three quarters of public spending on farming to support actions that restore nature and tackle climate change. This policy would secure jobs in the rural economy by ensuring farming has a sustainable future.

For further information:


Farm for Scotland’s Future campaign page, Scottish Environment LINK, 2022,

Version 1.0: September 2023

The contents of this document will be updated on a regular basis.