Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Rural Affairs, North Wales and Trefnydd
I am pleased to publish the Welsh Government’s proposals for the Sustainable Farming Scheme.
I have previously set out how the principles of Sustainable Land Management will provide the long-term framework for future agricultural policy and support. This framework recognises the sustainable production of food and tackling the nature and climate emergencies are integrated and complementary objectives. This will be set out in the Agriculture (Wales) Bill which I intend to introduce to the Senedd in the Autumn.
The Scheme proposals bring this framework to life. The Scheme has been designed to keep farmers on the land, to help build a prosperous and resilient agriculture industry, and in recognition food production is vital for our nation. It also recognises we must respond to the climate and nature emergencies if we are to ensure we have a sustainable and resilient agriculture sector for future generations. These emergencies represent the biggest threat to global food security. We need to support our farmers to do what they do best – sustainable farming – producing food in harmony with the environment.
The Scheme outlines how farmers will be rewarded for the actions they undertake. These include working with farmers to help them adapt to changes in the environment or market, helping make the best use of their resources; supporting them to become more efficient, lower their greenhouse gas emissions and enhance existing carbon stocks through sequestration.
A baseline payment will be made to farmers for undertaking a set of Universal Actions which can be delivered by farms across Wales above and beyond what is required by legislation. Additional payments will be available for farmers who choose to undertake Optional or Collaborative Actions.
These proposals have been shaped by the farmers and stakeholders who responded to our previous consultations and from our first phase of co-design. I am grateful to everyone who has taken the time to work with us so far. However, our work is not yet finished and I am again asking the sector to help ensure these proposals work for farmers across Wales.
I will consult on our final proposals next year having considered the views from co-design and after taking into consideration a range of evidence and analysis on the impact of our proposals.
Over the coming months, we will be seeking the views of as many farmers and stakeholders as possible through surveys and workshops. We had a fantastic response to our first phase of co-design and I would like even more farmers to get involved in this second phase. We want to hear from all sectors and all parts of Wales on how the proposed actions could work on different farms. With this support, we can ensure the Scheme works for Welsh farmers, our rural communities and our nation as a whole.