FUW calls on Welsh Government to rethink the Sustainable Farming Scheme through genuine co-design during emergency talks

During emergency talks held today (19 January) with Minister for Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, and her officials, the Farmers’ Union of Wales called for a rethink of the proposals through genuine co-design.

Speaking immediately after the meeting, FUW President Ian Rickman said: “As farmers, we understand the current strength of feeling and frustration of our members. We expressed these deep concerns and the resentment felt by our members and the wider rural community to the Minister in no uncertain terms today.

“We have called for an independent assessment to take place on the socio-economic impact and bureaucratic burden of Welsh Government agricultural policies, to include the SFS, bovine TB and the Control of Agricultural Pollution ‘NVZ’ regulations.

“This time must also be used for a series of regular meetings involving the Minister for Rural Affairs and her officials with both farming unions to rethink the proposals through genuine co-design. This needs to include an independent panel tasked with looking at alternatives to tree planting so we can work towards net zero in a more sustainable way,” he said.

The FUW has long maintained that the SFS must be accessible for all active farming businesses, and provide long-term stability for such businesses and the wider rural economy that relies upon agriculture. It also needs to provide a meaningful income stream which properly rewards farmers by going beyond costs incurred and income foregone and underpins the importance of a high quality food supply chain in Wales.

“From what we can see, the SFS in its current form will not be sustainable and is clearly not ready, and the Minister repeated her assurances that it wouldn’t be launched until it is.

“The continuation of the Basic Payment Scheme at current rates, until we are confident the SFS is ready, must therefore be considered. Otherwise we risk a repeat of the situation in England with basic payments disappearing and the vast majority of funding available only through the adoption of environmental schemes and actions.

“We welcome the constructive meeting with the Minister and her officials at such a critical time for the industry. However, the ball is now firmly in their court and we sincerely hope they take our requests seriously.

“Finally, I still cannot overstate how important it is for every individual and business that will be affected by these proposals to formally respond to this consultation by the 7th of March. It remains absolutely crucial that we all do so in order to have as great an impact as possible,” added Mr Rickman.


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Email: post@fuw.org.uk
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