New SFS timetable announced at CLA members’ farm

The Welsh Government announces a new timeline for the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) and a ministerial roundtable to ensure the scheme is rolled out effectively
SFS update

In a significant development for Welsh agriculture, Huw Irranca-Davies, the Secretary for Climate Change and Rural Affairs, confirmed a revised timeline for the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) in a win for CLA Cymru lobbying.

The announcement was made on CLA Cymru members Richard and Lyn Anthony’s award-winning farm near Bridgend, South Wales. Following feedback and engagement from CLA Cymru, the minister has recognised that there are alternative solutions to meet the current challenges of the controversial SFS proposal.

BPS extension and SFS delay

The minister confirmed a new timeline for the implementation of the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS), alongside a commitment to extend the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) through 2025.

The announcement of these revised timelines coincides with the establishment of a ministerial SFS roundtable, demonstrating a wish to create a collaborative approach to evolving this agricultural policy in Wales.

This news comes at a crucial time for the Welsh farming landscape, and the minister has acknowledged that there are alternative solutions to meet the current challenges of the controversial SFS proposal. The delay of the SFS and continuation of BPS is a significant U-turn for the Welsh Government, and was a key ask of CLA Cymru as consequence of our consultation with members.

The journey towards the SFS began with the "Brexit and Our Land" consultation in 2020, leading to extensive stakeholder engagement and revisions. The last consultation phase drew over 12,000 responses, emphasising the critical role of community feedback in shaping successful policy.

Ministerial roundtable

The new ministerial roundtable, chaired by Huw Irranca-Davies and featuring key stakeholders including CLA Cymru Director Victoria Bond, is tasked with refining the SFS over the next year, to ensure it supports the economic sustainability of farms and achieves environmental goals.

Victoria Bond, CLA Cymru Director, said: "We are pleased that the minister took on board our recommendations in terms of timing, interim support and ongoing expedited consultation in the form of the new roundtable."

This is a pivotal opportunity to ensure that the voices of our members and the broader farming community are not just heard but are instrumental in shaping a sustainable agricultural future for Wales

Victoria Bond, CLA Cymru Director

“This revised approach and the formation of the ministerial roundtable are crucial in ensuring that our members' voices are instrumental in shaping a sustainable agricultural future for Wales. We are committed to developing a scheme that is equitable, enhances the resilience and profitability of Welsh farming, and aligns with our environmental stewardship goals.

“We look forward to bringing to the table our 20 key asks that reflect the diversity of need across the agricultural landscape of Wales."

CLA Cymru welcomes the new timelines and proactive approach of the minister and looks forward to ensuring that the future SFS supports the diverse needs of farms, large estates, smallholders, and land-based businesses making up our membership across Wales as quickly and effectively as possible.