Farming News - Minister right to continue to develop Sustainable Farming Scheme in Wales

Minister right to continue to develop Sustainable Farming Scheme in Wales

The Soil Association has responded to the new Welsh Rural Affairs minister decision to press ahead with the Sustainable Farming Scheme:

Soil Association Head of Policy Wales Andrew Tuddenham said: "Rural Affairs Minister Hew Irranca-Davies is right to continue to develop the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) and introduce this in 2025 as a delay puts organic and nature-friendly farmers at further significant disadvantage in Wales. 


"These farms need specific support to continue to provide benefits to nature, climate and people but they're now receiving less under the Habitat Wales Scheme and the Organic Support 2024 payment than what was previously available through Glastir. Nature-friendly and organic farmers have told us that they may be able to hang on a little longer, but not forever given that their costs are rising. Organic farming is also proven to be a highly effective system for addressing the nature and climate emergency as its the only standard that bans the use of artificial nitrogen and severely restricts the use of pesticides.


"The area of land managed organically in Wales dropped by 7% last year. Its therefore encouraging to hear the minister recognise the need for certainty for farmers and commit to provide this in the next few weeks. In particular, we want to see confirmation of specific support for organic in the SFS. We're calling for SFS Optional actions to be available in 2026 - to give organic and nature-friendly farmers a clear choice. And we want to see a detailed transition plan for the SFS that clearly sets out what transitional schemes, SFS layers and SFS actions will become operational during transition and what will happen to legacy schemes during this time."