On the 16th of September, the first Welsh Agriculture Bill was set out before the Senedd. According to rural affairs minister Lesley Griffiths, it will pave the way for ambitious and transformational legislation to support farmers, sustainable food production, and conserve and enhance the Welsh countryside, culture and language.
The Bill included the Programme for Government commitment for a complete ban on snares and glue traps, making Wales the first country in the UK to introduce a complete ban.
The Made in Wales framework recognises the objectives of supporting farmers in the sustainable production of food, as well as taking action to respond to climate and nature emergencies, contributing to thriving rural communities and keeping farmers on the land.
Sustainable Land Management establishes a policy and legislation to ensure farmers can continue producing food and agricultural goods. It is based on four principles:
- To produce foods and other goods in a sustainable manner;
- To mitigate and adapt to climate change;
- To maintain and enhance the resilience of our ecosystems;
- To conserve and enhance the Welsh countryside, culture, and to sustain the Welsh language and promote and facilitate its use.
The bill will introduce protection for agricultural tenants, ensuring that they are not unfairly restricted from financial assistance, as well as providing Welsh ministers with the power to provide future support.
Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said: “This historic Welsh Agriculture Bill not only impacts the agriculture sector, but everyone across Wales, from the food we eat, to how it has been grown, harvested, stored and prepared for sale. For the first time, we have the chance to build a system of support and legislation which works for our farmers, our sector, our land and our people.
“These are difficult and challenging times for our farmers. Climate change, rising costs, new trade deals and the war in Ukraine, are just some of the issues they face. This Bill provides a framework on which all future agricultural support will be delivered and outlines how we can keep farmers on the land, produce food sustainably and deal with the climate emergency.
“It also sets out how Wales will be the first country in the UK to introduce a complete ban on the use of snares and glue traps. These devices catch animals indiscriminately, causing a great deal of suffering, and they are not compatible with the high animal welfare standards we strive for here in Wales. A complete ban is the only way forward.
“In July I published the outline of our Sustainable Farming Scheme, and this Bill provides the framework on which all future agricultural support can be delivered. Our SFS codesign survey is open until the end of October. I would encourage as many farmers as possible to complete the survey and help us ensure our proposals meet their needs for the future.
“I’m extremely proud of our farmers and the agriculture sector here in Wales. Through the provisions in the Bill, I want to ensure we can continue to support and encourage our farmers and producers to create and sustain a thriving agricultural sector.
“I look forward to working with Senedd members during their consideration of the Agriculture (Wales) Bill over the coming months.”