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Monthly News Bulletin

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Top Grants for Wigtownshire Farms

SIX of Wigtownshire’s farms have been listed in the top 40 for the biggest farming handouts in Scotland.

The information commissioner has made public subsidy data revealing 100 farms in Scotland have benefited from £115 million in Government subsidy between 2000-04.

The fifth most subsidised north of the border was Genoch Mains, near Dunragit, which received more than £2 million during that period.

Kevan Forsyth, who runs an agri-business comprising six farms near Whithorn follows in seventh place having collected £1.7 million.

Coming 22nd in the list was Iain Service’s farm near Newton Stewart with £1.2 million.

Old Hall Farm near Dunragit took £1.1million and 28th place, while Glennap Estates came 33rd with £1.1 million. John A Wallace with his £1 million took 40th.

Now South of Scotland MSP Alistair Morgan is calling for reforms in the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which dictates subsidy levels.

Mr Morgan said: “I think there will be considerable concern about what has been revealed.”

But, Johnny McIntosh, of Genoch Mains Farm, defended the grants as he was a major employer with 20 staff working his large beef and sheep farms.

He said: “A lot of labour is needed to look after the cattle and maintain welfare standards. What we get in subsidy all goes back into the local economy.

“When you look at the subsidy figure you should remember we are a big operation which is supplied by other local businesses.

“Our overheads have gone up during the last ten years while the prices for sheep and beef have fallen.

“If we were given a realistic price for our beef then we would not need subsidies.”

Scotland’s seventh most subsidised farmer Kevan Forsyth runs an agric- business made up of six farms near Whithorn that produce dairy, beef, and poultry products, employing about 35 people.

He said: “We are one of the biggest employers in the area. Quite frankly we could not have economically justified the level of investment and employment without subsidies.

“It’s an unfortunate situation to be in, but we would certainly not have been able to continue employing those during that period of time.”

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