Lesley Griffiths MS, Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd
Our consultation on the Agriculture (Wales) White Paper was published on 16 December 2020. It set out our ambition to reform the way in which agriculture is supported by Government in the future and our intention to introduce an Agriculture Bill in the Senedd. The White Paper contained proposals for:
- Sustainable Land Management: future policy and support;
- future support for agriculture;
- regulatory reform;
- future support for industry and the supply chain;
- forestry and woodland management;
- improving animal health and welfare;
- improving monitoring through the effective use of data and remote technology;
- replacing certain powers contained in the Agriculture Act (UK) 2020.
The consultation ended on 26 March 2021. We received 232 substantive responses and 887 responses through a campaign organised by the League Against Cruel Sports. I am grateful to all those who took the time to respond.
I commissioned an independent research company to analyse the responses to the consultation and, today, I am publishing the summary of the findings.
I am also publishing our Policy Response. This includes further information on the planned scope of the Agriculture Bill, which I will introduce next year, and our plans for future farming support in Wales.
The farming sector has faced many challenges over the past few years and we will continue to support active farmers for the change which is coming. Next year, I will launch a range of interventions which will help prepare the ground for the new scheme and pilot the processes which will be used to deliver it.
Significant and important change is coming which will provide a stable and sustainable future for the industry and rural communities in Wales. In the meantime, subject to sufficient funding being provided by the UK Government, it is our intention to continue with the Basic Payment Scheme until 2023 to provide support for our farmers as we work together to transition to the Sustainable Farming Scheme.
Alongside this I am announcing extensions to Glastir Advanced, Commons and Organic contracts by two years, to December 2023. This represents a budget commitment of £66.79m over two years for Welsh farmers. All existing eligible contract holders will be offered an extension via their RPW on-line accounts.
I am also announcing a further commitment of £7m to extend the Farming Connect programme through to March 2023. Farming Connect will continue to support a more professional, profitable and resilient land based sector as we begin the transition to the new Sustainable Farming Scheme and as we respond to multiple challenges including an ever-changing trading environment for the industry.
Also being published today is a report which summarises the findings of the first phase of Co-Design undertaken with our farmers last year. This first phase, which involved around 2,000 Welsh farmers, provided valuable feedback on our proposed Sustainable Farming Scheme.
I plan a second period of Co-Design alongside continued stakeholder and farmer engagement next year to help refine our proposals before we consult on our final proposals for the Sustainable Farming Scheme and our Transition Plan in 2023.
To complement these publications, I am also publishing our response to the Agricultural Tenancy Consultation which contained proposals to support fair access to future support schemes for tenants.
The final document to be published today is the latest in a series of evidence reports from the Environment and Rural Affairs Modelling and Monitoring Programme (ERAMMP). This report explores the use of a ‘logic-chain’ approach that shows how land management actions can affect the resilience of ecosystems, and the benefits ecosystem goods and services provide to people.