Thousands of Scottish beef producers will benefit from payments worth £40 million over the next few weeks, the Scottish Government has said.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said the money, which comes from a backdated EU subsidy, will help more than 7,000 farmers and crofters during challenging times.
In September last year, the Chancellor confirmed Scotland would receive £160 million from “convergence” payments as part of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Mr Ewing said 469 convergence payments worth £768,500 have been processed this week, mainly for new entrants to farming.
More convergence payments are due to be outlined in the coming weeks.
Mr Ewing said: “Suckler herds form the backbone of quality beef production in Scotland and I can confirm that the first tranche of the 2019 Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme payments will begin shortly.
“I am also pleased that we are making the convergence funds go further, reaching new entrants who are so important to the future of farming.
“All of these payments will aid business cash flow, helping to support farmers and crofters to continue to produce the quality meat products that Scotland is globally renowned for – and which we now need on our supermarket shelves more than ever.”
He added: “These are unprecedented and difficult times for the whole country and it is vital that we support our farmers and crofters.
“But we also need to keep the food supply chain moving.
“I would therefore encourage farmers and crofters to use their CAP payments to pay their bills and make investments for the seasons ahead to help keep money flowing through Scotland’s rural economy.”