NSA welcomes Welsh Government’s response to future of farming
The National Sheep Association (NSA) has welcomed the Welsh Government’s response to the Sustainable Farming and Our Land consultation but says it has some concern about the longevity of policy changes.
This comes after an official response was published to last year’s consultation which received over 3,300 responses from farmers.
It proposed that future funding should support farmers who operate sustainable farming systems and protect the environment, including business support with a focus on advice, capital investment and skills development and a Sustainable Farming Payment which would reward farmers for mainly environmental outcomes.
NSA chief executive, Phil Stocker, said: “While there is a lot of detail to be worked through, the principles set out in the response and the Ministers statement are welcomed and read as being supportive of farming in Wales as well as recognising the value of farmers and farming to the nation.
“In terms of future support to farming in Wales, again, we welcome the principle that the Government should incentivise and support farmers to run truly sustainable farming systems, and we welcome the intention to move way beyond the income foregone approach…”
“NSA doesn’t read this as meaning that change won’t come – in many areas we welcome change and we agree with many of the statements made in the Governments response. We welcome the references to the importance of food production in Wales and the contribution that high-quality food production will contribute to Welsh Sustainable Brand Values. We also welcome the references to food security and the importance of export and imports so that Wales can lean towards producing what the nations climate and natural resources and culture do so well, recognising that other nations will do likewise and that consumers in Wales will want choice and dietary variation.
“In terms of future support to farming in Wales, again, we welcome the principle that the Government should incentivise and support farmers to run truly sustainable farming systems, and we welcome the intention to move way beyond the income foregone approach, with a strong suggestion that sustainability is viewed in the widest of contexts – multifunctional farming and land management.”
NSA Cymru/Wales regional development officer, Helen Roberts commented: “This announcement is most certainly welcome, however, as with most announcements, there does remain some concern. In this instance, we have specific concerns about further consultation with no specific timescales. The speech seems to hint that there will be an interim scheme from when BPS ends, and a new scheme is launched. With Senedd elections due next May, there is concern this policy won’t be delivered as said.”