If new Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson honours his promises, Scottish farmers are in line to receive £160 million in backdated European convergence funds, and an extra £25m a year in support payments.
But while the industry waits to see the colour of his money, it now faces an even greater level of uncertainty over the way in which Mr Johnson as prime minister will take Britain out of the EU.
The increased threat of a no-deal Brexit and the consequent trade disruption and crippling WTO tariffs mean the stakes are high for food producers, leading industry chiefs to call for urgent meetings with Mr Johnson and his new Cabinet.
NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick said the union had made a series of demands during Mr Johnson’s leadership campaign and had received “significant” public and private commitments.
“We called for Brexit to deliver frictionless trade that upholds the extremely high standards met by Scottish farmers and crofters; access to skilled and competent labour and ring-fenced and multi-annual funding commitments for devolved delivery of a new Scottish agricultural policy that will drive productivity and profitability, build resilience and deliver on environmental needs,” Mr McCornick said.
“Now that Mr Johnson has won the race to No 10, the union has an unprecedented opportunity to engage with the top of UK Government from the first day of the new prime minister’s premiership. After months of stagnation on the Brexit negotiations, it is vital that we see meaningful progress.”
The sheep industry is particularly vulnerable to a hard or disorderly departure from the EU, as 35% of British sheep meat is exported, with around 96% of that going to EU markets.
National Sheep Association chief executive Phil Stocker urged Mr Johnson to prioritise an orderly Brexit.
He added: “ At such a fragile time, the last thing our industry needs is a change in our secretary of state or ministers, but if they must come then we hope the new prime minister will carefully consider who he appoints. We need a Defra team with an understanding of agriculture and its role in the countryside.”