HUMZA Yousaf has rejected calls to “ditch the Greens” during a question-and-answer session at a Scottish farming conference.

On Friday, the First Minister gave a speech at the National Farmers Union of Scotland conference in Glasgow before answering questions from journalists and members of the audience.

The Scottish Government is currently in the process of establishing its own subsidy payment scheme for farmers to replace the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in the wake of Brexit.

During his speech, Yousaf confirmed that 70% of future farming subsidies will continue to be made as direct payments to farmers.

This is despite calls from a coalition of environmental groups calling for at least three quarters of public spending on farming to go towards methods that restore nature and tackle climate change.

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Yousaf said the remaining 30% will go towards targeted measures such as creating wetlands and restoring peatlands.

Scottish Environment Link – which represents more than 40 environmental organisations in Scotland – had been calling for a far more radical approach to funding, which was “evidence-based” and informed by independent advice.

Yousaf said: "When it comes to the impacts of climate change, they are only going to be felt more regularly, we’re facing an extreme climate crisis, and we all have a job to do to tackle this, and I absolutely recognise the farming community’s role in this.

“We want to be partners with you in this, but not at the expense of producing our own food.”

The National: John Lamont failed to turn up to the NFU Scotland conference John Lamont failed to turn up to the NFU Scotland conference

On Thursday, the president of NFU Scotland, Martin Kennedy, called on the First Minister to scrap the Bute House Agreement claiming it had been a “disaster”.

“Moorland management, hunting with dogs, snaring, shooting and farming and crofting in general have suffered badly under this agreement,” said Kennedy.

However, when asked whether he would at least review the agreement if not scrap it, Yousaf declined and said Scotland was legally bound to meet environmental targets.

Under Secretary of State for Scotland and Tory MP John Lamont (above) was scheduled to give a speech at the event on Thursday. 

However, he failed to turn up in-person and instead delivered his speech via video conference.