Former NFUS President George Lyon, Liberal Democrat Advocate General Lord Jim Wallace and MSP for Orkney Liam McArthur today said that Scotland's place in the UK helps ensure that Scottish farmers receive premium prices for their produce.
Speaking during a visit to a beef farm in Orkney, Mr Lyon and Lord Wallace said the UK dividend that beef farmers in Scotland have received over the last 4 years has been worth £200 million to the industry.
Figures for 2014 show that Scottish beef farmers receive an average of an additional £243 for every animal they sell compared to international competitors in Ireland.
Commenting, former Liberal Democrat MSP and MEP George Lyon said:
"Farmers in Scotland sell more of our produce to the rest of the UK than any other part of the world. More than two-thirds of our trade in livestock and milk is with customers in Wales, England and Northern Ireland. Why would we want to put new borders between farmers and their biggest customers?
"Farms like the beef farm we visited in Orkney this morning produce high quality meat. But the premium prices Scottish farmers receive for our beef depends to a significant extent on our place in the single UK home market.
"Independence would not lower the quality of the meat we produce, But it would see our farmers competing on price with Irish farmers and others who export into the UK. That could only be bad news for the industry."
Lord Jim Wallace added:
"People in Orkney are proud of the quality produce that our farmers sell across Scotland and the rest of the UK, and rightly so.
"Whether we are talking about a big UK trade network that is promoting our goods in new markets overseas, or the UK dividend that our beef farmers receive on their sales, remaining part of the UK family is good for Scottish agriculture and our rural communities."
Liam McArthur MSP said:
"The Scottish Parliament already takes all of the big decisions on things like agricultural funding and our farmers benefit from the strength of the UK on the international stage and a big UK home market that supports jobs right across Scotland. It is difficult to see how walking away from the real benefits we take from our place in the UK would be good news for farmers."