NFU Cymru continued its political lobbying efforts around the Sustainable Farming Scheme proposals with a well-attended drop-in session for Members of the Senedd at Tŷ Hywel in Cardiff Bay.


The lunchtime event on Wednesday, March 20, kindly sponsored by Shadow Rural Affairs Minister Samuel Kurtz MS, saw around a third of MSs attend to discuss NFU Cymru’s thorough response to the Sustainable Farming Scheme consultation.


Copies of the union’s 96-page full response to the Welsh Government consultation were made available to MSs, researchers and advisers, as well as shorter summary documents highlighting the keys areas of feedback from members and the union’s key asks.


Over 6,700 farmers responded to the Welsh Government consultation via the NFU Cymru website and the union engaged with over 5,000 farmers over the 12-week consultation. This week’s MS drop-in sessions gave the union the opportunity to once again emphasise to MSs the strength of feeling from farmers in the feedback the union has received about the proposals.


In particular, NFU Cymru officeholders and staff reiterated the need for the final scheme to include a stability element to underpin the production of safe, high quality and affordable food.


The union has also highlighted that the universal tier of the Sustainable Farming Scheme must be truly universal to all farmers, regardless of their sector, location or type of holding. While the challenges farmers will face around the 10% tree cover element have been well documented, NFU Cymru has reiterated to MSs its ask of Welsh Government to form a science panel to examine a more holistic approach to carbon capture. Specifically, the union is urging Welsh Government to work with scientific institutes to explore how other sources of on-farm carbon capture – such as hedgerows, grasslands and peat bogs - alongside strategic and sensitive tree planting can have a positive role to play in tackling the effects of climate change.


Speaking after the drop-in session, NFU Cymru President Aled Jones said: “I am delighted that so many MSs were able to join us at today’s drop-in session in Tŷ Hywel. NFU Cymru has lobbied on these proposals right from their conception and we continue to stress that we must get this scheme right in order to deliver for Wales. The strong attendance from MSs of all parties at today’s event is perhaps a reflection of the high-profile farming has received in recent months, along with the level of concern about the impact of these proposals not just amongst farmers, but indeed among the wider public, too.


“I am grateful to Samuel Kurtz MS for sponsoring and all the MSs who made the time to join us today and engage in constructive discussions aimed at ensuring the final scheme delivers for food production, the environment and our communities.”