Welsh govt confirms farmers will adopt green farming

Sustainable farming will be 'at the heart' of future agriculture support in Wales, rural affairs minister Lesley Griffiths says
Sustainable farming will be 'at the heart' of future agriculture support in Wales, rural affairs minister Lesley Griffiths says

The Welsh government has confirmed that sustainable farming will remain at the heart of future agriculture support post-Brexit.

An official response has been published to last year’s Sustainable Farming and our Land consultation, which received over 3,300 responses from farmers and landowners.

The consultation proposed that future funding should support farmers who operate sustainable farming systems and protect the environment.

NFU Cymru replied to it by urging the Welsh government to be 'careful, considered and measured', and to develop future policy through a 'process of evolution rather than revolution'.

The consultation set out proposals for how farmers would be supported post-Brexit, including replacing the BPS and Glastir with a Sustainable Land Management framework.

It would comprise two elements: business support with a focus on advice, capital investment and skills development; and the Sustainable Farming Payment which would reward farmers for mainly environmental outcomes.

Minister for rural affairs, Lesley Griffiths has now confirmed a future agricultural support scheme would continue to be developed around sustainability.

During an update to the Senedd on Wednesday (8 July), the minister set out the next stages in the development of the future support scheme.

These include undertaking analysis to understand the impact of moving from an entitlement based income support scheme to a voluntary scheme which rewards the production of outcomes.

This would be published next summer and no decision on a future scheme would be made without consideration of this analysis, Ms Griffiths said.

She said there would also be a transition period to enable farmers to adjust their existing business model to accommodate any changes required by the proposed scheme.

She said: “I am pleased to confirm, following careful consideration of the responses to the consultation, we will continue to develop a future system of agricultural support around the Sustainable Land Management approach.

“This approach will allow us to respond to the climate emergency, will help to reverse biodiversity decline, will ensure high standards of animal health and welfare and protect our natural resources

"Food produced using this approach will be sustainable, ensuring a food supply for future generations," Ms Griffiths added.

To ensure farmers are supported following the UK exit from the EU, the minister also confirmed plans to launch a consultation in summer to seek views on the simplification of rules around agricultural support.