Scotland’s farmers are divided over whether to stay in the EU with a “total lack of evidence” on the alternative, MPs have been told.
NFU Scotland vice-president Andrew McCornick said that currently, Brexit would be akin to “jumping off a cliff and then trying to build a plane on the way down”.
He told a meeting of Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee in Glasgow that the organisation is “not totally neutral” in the debate.
Mr McCornick said: “We’ve taken the view that we’re suggesting we should stay in until we’re given a viable alternative to consider to take out to our members.”
He said the biggest question from NFU Scotland members is what would happen in relation to Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidies in the event of a vote to leave.
He added: “There is a divergence throughout our membership. There are some very, very keen on staying in and there are some equally as keen to get out.
“We are finding there’s a total lack of evidence for the exit. If we had solid information out there to discuss, to make reasoned and sensible decisions on, we would certainly be going down that road and until that information is in front of us, we can only say business sense says we’d be best staying in because we don’t know what the alternative is.
“It’s like jumping off a cliff and then trying to build a plane on the way down.”
The committee, which is taking evidence on the potential impact of the EU referendum in Scotland, also heard from Ross Dougal, president of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation.
Mr Dougal said that while the federation is remaining neutral on the issue, its membership is largely in favour of Brexit.
He said: “Certainly on the catching side I think there will be a significant majority in favour of Brexit.
“Some of them will have reservations but they just feel that the micromanagement, the top down management from Europe, has been a failure.
“The last Common Fisheries Policy didn’t do anything, this one is slightly better but a long way short of what’s required.
“Now whether they are misguided in the fact that… the difficulties involved in exiting and sorting everything out I don’t know, but certainly the sense I get is that the majority of them would say out.”