A direct call for the Welsh Government to commit to continue to fund Glastir contracts after the end of this year has been made in a joint letter to the Minister for Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths MS. CLA Cymru has joined the farming unions in Wales, the (NFU and FUW), the Nature Friendly Farming Network Cymru (NFFN), Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and Tenant Farmers’ Association (TFA) to make a direct approach in writing at a critical time as the Agriculture (Wales) Bill has just been passed in the Senedd and the Minister is expected to meet the key signatories at the Royal Welsh Show at the end of the month.
CLA Cymru Senior Policy Advisor Fraser McAuley says, “As a key part of agricultural support in Wales, it’s vital that it be maintained and smoothly dovetailed into the new Sustainable Farming Scheme. This isn’t due to be launched until 2025: a funding-gap could be disastrous for marginal farm businesses, present severe challenges for others. Certainly many businesses will hold back major business decisions and investments until they receive firm evidence of continuity.”
“In addition, Glastir’s role in supporting farmers in delivering for the environment alongside sustainably produced food is critical as a gateway to future schemes and if it is stopped there will be significant impacts on Welsh Government ambition to address the biodiversity and climate emergencies.”
Fraser adds, “The letter stresses that an overt expression of continuity must be made as a matter of urgency and communicated to the farming sector to maintain confidence in the transition to the new scheme.”
You can read the joint-letter, below.
Rural stakeholder concern regarding the lack of Glastir support for 2024
In the recent Stage 3 debate on the Agriculture (Wales) Bill you emphasised the vital role Welsh farmers must play is restoring and maintaining nature. You also made it clear the new Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) will support them to achieve this important goal, alongside producing food sustainably and tackling climate change. Therefore, it is of great concern that there is no commitment from Welsh Government to fund existing Glastir contracts beyond 2023. As the SFS isn’t due to be introduced until the beginning of 2025 many Welsh farmers, who are being supported by Glastir to manage their land for nature, carbon and sustainable food production goals are currently facing a significant funding cliff-edge at the end of this year.
We are very concerned that this uncertainty, if not addressed, will undermine confidence in farming with nature and associated publicly funded schemes, such as the SFS. It also places valuable wildlife habitats and low-carbon farming practices at risk as farmers may see intensification as the only option available to them to maintain their incomes during these challenging times.
To demonstrate Welsh Government’s support for sustainable farming we strongly urge you to commit to funding ongoing Glastir Advanced and Glastir Organic contracts during 2024. We also ask that this decision is made as a matter of urgency and communicated to the farming sector to maintain confidence in the agri-environment scheme approach now and in future.