NFU Cymru has called for further clarity on funding for the new Habitat Wales Scheme just days before it opens for applications.
Minister for Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths announced that applications for the scheme will open on Friday 29 September, with contracts commencing in January 2024.
However, details around the budget for the new interim scheme are still unclear, despite Glastir Advanced, Commons and Organic area-based contracts ending in December 2023.
NFU Cymru said it had received 'no reassurances' that the new interim scheme would match levels of income currently received through Glastir.
The union warned that this level of ambiguity was 'unsettling' for farmers considering the scheme.
“As developments unfold, we are increasingly anxious for Glastir contract-holders," said NFU Cymru rural affairs board chairman, Hedd Pugh.
"Many have been participants in agri-environment schemes for decades and have adapted their businesses as a result, who could well lose a significant part of their income in 2024."
The Habitat Wales Scheme offers farmers an opportunity to maintain and increase the area of habitat land under management across Wales.
It is expected to provide a payment per hectare of eligible habitat land, including habitat land previously under management in 2023.
It will be available to all eligible farmers, including Glastir Advanced, Commons and Organic farmers.
But Mr Hugh said it would be 'very difficult' for farmers to make a commitment to the scheme without more information on its budget.
He added: "Regrettably, today’s statement does little to answer the fundamental questions farmers need answered in order to inform decisions about participation in the scheme.
“To maintain the confidence of farming in the proposed direction of travel, the budget of around £35m for agri-environment must be at least maintained."
Applications to Habitat Wales Scheme will open on Friday 29 September, with contracts commencing in January 2024.