History repeating itself says FUW as two agricultural Senedd motions voted down

Following a protest by thousands of farmers and staff from associated businesses on the steps of the Senedd in Cardiff Bay last week (28 February), the Senedd proceeded to debate and vote down two motions on policies relating to the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) and bovine TB.

The Welsh Conservatives motion called on the Welsh Government to scrap the current sustainable farming scheme proposals and to re-engage with the farming sector to develop a new scheme that has the support of the farming community.

WG announcement on Farming Scheme and farmers Senedd protest

It is positive to see that at least some steps are already being considered from the Rural Affairs Minister’s announcement (27 Feb) with regards to the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS).

FUW President, Ian Rickman said: “We have made the feeling of our members abundantly clear during our meeting with the Welsh Government (19 February). At that meeting we called for a rethink of the current SFS proposals and for closer collaboration of the changes needed on the scheme in conjunction with interested parties and both farming unions.

Lack of consideration for tenants and new entrants under SFS proposals is concerning, says FUW Presidential Policy Team

The lack of consideration of tenant farmers and proper support for new entrants were just some of the key concerns expressed by the Presidential Policy Team of the Farmers’ Union of Wales during a meeting held recently at Builth Wells.

Book your SAF 2024 appointment

It’s that time of year again when we start thinking about Single Application Forms (SAF). The application window opens on March 4th and the FUW is reminding its members that county staff are here to help and ready to take the stress of filling the form away.

The FUW provides this service as part of the membership package, which has proved invaluable for thousands of members over the years - saving them time and a paperwork-headache. 

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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