Welsh Government has provided the certainty we have been repeatedly calling for regarding direct payments in 2023 and 2024. The CLA Cymru team, alongside the wider farming community, has been lobbying for clarity on Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments ahead of the start of the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) in 2025.
We are all very aware of the many challenges the rural economy is facing. It is therefore, pleasing to see that the Welsh Government has listened to our calls despite the political wrangling with Westminster. The level of direct payments will remain at the same level as the previous three years, at £238m, although we appreciate the continued challenge of inflation on members’ businesses.
In making the announcement, Minister for Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths MS, says: “The challenges the sector faces highlight, even more, the importance of transitioning to a new system of farm support that is fairer and, while will support our farmers in the sustainable production of food. That is our aim with the SFS, which will come in from 2025.”
Our work on farming policy
2022 has been a busy year in terms of farming policy, and 2023 is likely to be no different. We saw the Sustainable Farming Scheme proposals published just before the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show in July, and there were plenty of positive aspects to the scheme, as well as some areas that need to be improved.
Flexibility is key and is something that has been continually highlighted in our many meetings with members and other stakeholders, alike. We submitted our initial response to the proposals in November following discussions at branch committees and Polisi Cymru. There will be a full 12-week consultation in the new year. The CLA Cymru team has plans to test out the proposals on a range of members' farms to really see how practical the proposals are on the ground.
The Agriculture (Wales) Bill, which was published in September, is going through its first stage of scrutiny by the Economy Trade and Rural Affairs Committee.
CLA Cymru submitted our views on the bill as a whole in late November, and we are currently working with other key organisations and Members of the Senedd to determine whether amendments may be necessary as the bill enters its second stage in February.
We expect the bill to gain Royal Assent in late 2023, and we are working hard to ensure that the bill, and indeed the Sustainable Farming Scheme, works for the rural economy and our members.
If you wish to input your views or find out more, please contact the CLA Cymru office.
We would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Nadolig llawen a blwyddyn newydd dda.