Welsh farming union welcomes Senedd’s new Sustainable Farming Scheme approach

NFU Cymru President Aled Jones

NFU Cymru President Aled Jones

NFU Cymru has applauded the “sensible and pragmatic approach” taken by the Welsh government following the announcement of a new timeline to introduce the Sustainable Farming Scheme.

In a written statement made on Tuesday (14 May), the Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change & Rural Affairs, Huw Irranca-Davies MS, confirmed that the proposed Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) transition will now start in 2026. Confirmation was also given that the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) will be available in 2025.

The news was well received by NFU Cymru. In a statement, the farming union welcomed the Cabinet Secretary’s commitment to ”meaningful engagement” and underlined the importance of government working in partnership with the industry to ensure the scheme can deliver a successful future for Welsh farming.

NFU Cymru President Aled Jones said: “We very much share the thoughts of the Cabinet Secretary that this scheme must not be introduced until it is ready. Neither farming families nor government can afford to have a scheme that fails to deliver on our vision for food, nature, climate and communities.

“This is a scheme that will underpin food production, our farmed environment, our communities, our rural businesses who are dependent on a thriving farming sector, our language and our culture for a generation to come. I welcome the commitment from the Cabinet Secretary to take the time to listen to those impacted by the proposals and to work in partnership on the future development of the scheme.

Jones added: “The Cabinet Secretary has made a sensible and pragmatic decision to continue with the BPS for 2025. This early decision provides much needed stability and certainty to a sector that has faced significant challenges this past year, while also allowing the time needed for the Ministerial Roundtable to work through the areas that have been identified during the consultation period as needing further consideration.”

NFU Cymru had previously highlighted that the £238m annual investment in Welsh farming through the BPS underpins an agricultural output of £2.1bn, a return on investment of nearly £9 for every £1 of public money spent.

Jones raised the point that this amount has remained static for over a decade, despite inflation having risen by over 30 per cent in this period.

“We look to our government to ensure that the 2025 BPS budget ceiling is at least maintained when the Welsh Government budget is published later this year,” he said.

“Conflict around the globe and the increasing impacts of climate change means that global food supply chains are being increasingly impacted and vulnerable to disruption. This just serves to reiterate that long-term stability support to underpin domestic food production is as important as it has ever been and must be included within the universal baseline payment of the SFS.”