In response to the release of the Welsh Government’s Agriculture (Wales) White Paper, the FUW believes that it does little to reduce concerns regarding the impacts of families and communities of proposed changes to agricultural support.
While the FUW agrees with the objectives of protecting and enhancing the economic, environmental and sustainability of our rural communities, grave concerns about whether the proposals will actually meet these objectives or whether they will be undermined remain.
Despite a change in language used by the Welsh Government in recent years and the acknowledgement of the need for more realistic and less dangerous timescales than had originally been proposed, the core principles underpinning the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) proposals remain the same as those being brought forward in England, rather than making the most of the opportunity to create a scheme based on Welsh ideas and principles.
In October 2018, the FUW and NFU Cymru outlined a joint ‘Welsh Way Forward’ policy which outlined five key priorities for a future policy: stability, family farms, supporting rural communities and Welsh jobs, sustainable agriculture and rewarding environmental outcomes.
Public goods can be part of the picture however, placing one-dimensional, untried and untested mechanisms of public good payments at the core of future schemes will place rural communities, economies and families at risk.
The FUW will be responding in full to the proposals set out in the White Paper following consultation with its County Branches.