NSA Cymru/Wales responds to Welsh Governments’ call for views on legislative framework supporting Welsh Agriculture
29th March 2021
NSA Cymru/Wales has submitted a comprehensive response to the Welsh Government in answer to the request for views on the ‘The Agriculture in Wales White Paper’, which sets out the plans for what may be the biggest change in agriculture policy in the country for decades.
The NSA Cymru/Wales regional committee devoted a large portion of a recent meeting to considering the proposals. NSA Cymru / Wales Region Chair Kate Hovers says: “As chair, I was pleased at our engagement and everyone’s contributions to what proposes to be the biggest changes to agricultural policy and support in recent times. There are areas to be positive about and areas of concern, we have highlighted all these with our suggestions in our response to Welsh Government along with our wish to be further consulted and to work with them.”
The Welsh Government is proposing to replace the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and other EU Agri-environment schemes with a single direct support scheme for farming. The proposed Sustainable Farming Scheme will reward farmers for the production of environmental outcomes such as improved soils, clean air, clean water, improved habitat condition and actions to reduce global warming. It will also provide advice and support for farmers and farm businesses.
The white paper includes recognition for the contribution farmers are already making (and many always have done) to a sustainable environment and biodiversity and that funding will be available for current public goods as well as future additions or improvements. NSA Cymru/Wales welcomed this inclusion and Kate further comments: “It is essential that future Sustainable Land Management rewards what is already there, and benefits those who have retained and protected habitats. It should not simply incentivise and reward change but should reward those whose change needs to be minimal.”
NSA Cymru / Wales Regional Development Officer Helen Roberts comments on the response by saying: “Once the Welsh Government has gone through the responses NSA Cymru/Wales looks forward to working with them to produce a scheme that is fit for purpose to take the industry forward.”
The Welsh Language is very important within the agricultural industry in Wales and at the heart of rural communities via the agricultural sector. The NSA Cymru/Wales responses to the consultation questions are intended to reflect the importance of maintaining and further building Welsh heritage and culture, including the development of the Welsh language.