Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths has outlined the next steps to introduce a new system of farm support which will reward farmers who take action to respond to the climate emergency and reverse the decline of biodiversity.
The new Sustainable Farming Scheme will maximise the protective power of nature through farming and will be key in protecting the environment for this generation and those to come.
The Welsh Government has already engaged with more than 2,000 farmers and stakeholders in the first phase of co-designing the new scheme and the next phase of co-design will take place in the summer of 2022.
The Minister has revealed an outline of the Sustainable Farming Scheme will be published next year and this will include the actions which farmers are asked to undertake. Analysis of the estimated cost to the farm business and wider sector of undertaking them and the resulting environmental benefits will be also be published to enable farmers to provide informed feedback.
A final consultation on the detail of scheme design, and transition to the new scheme, will take place in spring 2023.
Engagement with farmers through an outreach programme on the final Scheme will take place the following year.
The scheme is set to open in January 2025.
Speaking in the Senedd, Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths said: “As set out in our Programme for Government, tackling the climate and nature emergencies are a priority for this Government.
“The Counsel General set out our ambitious legislative programme on 6 July. This confirmed we will introduce a new Agriculture Bill in the first year of the Senedd. This will be an ambitious piece of legislation reforming decades of EU farm support and represents a significant change to the sector.
“The Agriculture (Wales) White paper set out our proposals to support farmers to adopt a sustainable approach. This will ensure a long term future for farming which recognises its importance to Welsh society.
“The farming sector has faced many challenges over the past few years and we are firm in our intention to support farmers to adapt to future changes.
“I have always been clear we will work closely with farmers to ensure their voices are heard as future support is designed.
“I am pleased today to both publish a report on the first phase of co-design and commit to building on this work in a second phase next year. This will form a part of an ongoing process to engage with farmers and stakeholders which will lead us to a final consultation on the Sustainable Farming Scheme and our transition to the new Scheme, in spring 2023.
“Throughout 2024 we will engage with farmers through an outreach programme. This will ensure we are ready to open the scheme in January 2025.”