Sustainable Farming Scheme placed on hold until 2026

Sustainable Farming Scheme placed on hold until 2026

Rural Affairs Secretary Huw Irranca-Davies has confirmed a new timeframe for the introduction of the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS).

The Welsh Government said the delay would help Welsh producers while safeguarding the environment.

Irranca-Davies confirmed that the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) would continue to be available in 2025, with the proposed SFS transition period starting from 2026, and an announcement to follow on the BPS ceiling.

Existing rural investment schemes, such as the small grants schemes, will continue to support infrastructure changes.

Huw Irranca-Davies, Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change and Rural Affairs.

Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change and Rural Affairs, Huw Irranca-Davies said: “Since the first day of taking up this role I have been out and about meeting and listening to our farmers, hearing their views and taking on board what they have to say.

“My commitment to meaningful engagement with the farming sector, Plaid Cymru colleagues under the Cooperation Agreement and other stakeholders on the changes needed will necessitate a change in the implementation timetable.

“We have always said the Scheme would not be introduced until it is ready and I stand by that.”

The Welsh Government said it would work on a new landscape scale scheme, which will build on the experience of previous collaboration schemes. It said this new timeframe will give it the opportunity to work through a number of important aspects.

Irranca-Davies said: “Together we can create a future where our farmers produce the very best of Welsh food to the highest standards, while safeguarding our precious environment.

“We are listening and will continue to listen. We must continue to work in partnership to finalise a scheme that works long-term. This is the next step in making that happen.”

This comes as Irranca-Davies announced the formation of an SFS Ministerial Roundtable to oversee and progress the Scheme.

Responding to the updated SFS timeline, NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said: “It is a welcome relief that the new Cabinet Secretary seems to be listening to the concerns of Welsh farmers over proposed future farm support. NSA is hopeful the delay of the launch of the SFS will allow time to be taken carefully to make the changes necessary to ensure the scheme continues to support farms… producing food sustainably alongside improving the environment.”

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