Many farmers and agricultural businesses in Wales will be aware that the White Paper is open for consultation by the Welsh Government (WAG) until March 25, 2021.
WAG is consulting on the legislative framework to support Welsh agriculture and views are sought on various proposals relating to future support for agriculture; regulatory reform; future support for industry and the supply chain and improving animal health and welfare etc.
The White Paper and the policy work carried out so far represents the Welsh Government’s proposals for what will be the biggest changes in agriculture policy for decades. It sets out intentions for primary legislation and provides the basis of the Agriculture (Wales) Bill, to be introduced in the next Senedd term. Much more detail is to follow, about the future scheme and matters to be set out in secondary legislation.
The paper sets out a 15-20-year vision to create a sustainable agricultural sector, detailing plans on how farmers will be supported to ‘produce food in a sustainable way’. Proposals will see the replacement of the current Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and agri-environment schemes with a new Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS). The scheme will hope to place a proper value on the environmental outcomes farmers deliver (improved soils, clean air, clean water, improved biodiversity, actions to reduce global warming) alongside sustainable food production.
New national minimum standards for agriculture will be created and consulted upon, backed up by a new enforcement regime which will involve a range of civil sanctions depending on individual cases with the possibility of criminal sanctions for the most severe and repeat offences. Proportionality is the buzz word.
It is vitally important to plan ahead to understand these sector changes and to protect and future proof your business. Our agricultural team can provide practical and commercial advice within the context of these challenges and opportunities.
Do also join us to consider the future of the sector at our online Future Farming Forum on 11 May 2021; you can book here.