I am pleased to launch a consultation today seeking views on proposals for agricultural support for Welsh farmers, from 2021. The proposals seek to put in place an interim framework following the UK’s exit from the European Union and in advance of the transition to the proposed Sustainable Farming Scheme
Welsh land matters to us all. It sustains livelihoods, supports communities and generates natural resources on which we all rely. Those who manage it contribute a huge amount to our economy, environment, our rural communities and our country.
Leaving the EU presents significant challenges,however, we have a unique opportunity to put in place bespoke Welsh policy which delivers for our economy, society and natural environment.
Last year’s, “Sustainable Farming and our Land” consultation document presented revised proposals to provide long term stability for Welsh farmers, foresters and land managers. No final decisions have yet been taken on the nature of any new scheme, but this work is ongoing and many stakeholders are engaged in the development of a new approach, designed around the Sustainable Land Management framework.
These proposals establish a simpler interim framework, based on retained EU Law, as available under the time limited powers being taken through the UK Agriculture Bill and will continue to support the competitiveness of farming and food production, whilst responding to the climate emergency, reversing biodiversity decline, ensuring high standards of animal health and welfare and protecting our natural resources.
I am grateful for the help and energy of all Welsh stakeholders who have come together to aid this work. This consultation is the next stage in delivering a multi-year structured transition, despite the continued uncertainty with regards the trading arrangements with Europe.
I welcome your views on whether the proposals in the consultation will help us deliver our long term objectives. The consultation will close on 23 October 2020.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep Members informed. Should Members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns I would be happy to do so.