Welsh farmers now have a better idea of the timeline for future farm support, as rural affairs minister Lesley Griffiths outlined the next steps to reward those whose actions respond to the climate emergency and reverse the decline of biodiversity.
The Welsh government has engaged with more than 2,000 farmers and stakeholders in the first phase of co-designing the Sustainable Farming Scheme, with the next phase set to take place in the summer of 2022.
An outline of the scheme will be published next year and this will include the actions which farmers will be asked to undertake. Analysis of the estimated cost to the farm business and the wider sector of undertaking these measures, and the resulting environmental benefits will also be published.
A final consultation on the scheme design and the transition period will take place the following year, with the scheme set to open in January 2025.
Speaking in the Senedd, Ms Griffiths said: “As set out in our Programme for Government, tackling the climate and nature emergencies is 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 that 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.”