NFU Cymru has given evidence to a Senedd committee short inquiry on the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Farming Scheme proposals.

 NFU Cymru President Aled Jones and NFU Cymru National Environment and Land Use Adviser Rachel Lewis-Davies appeared before the Climate Change, Environment and Infrastructure Committee (CCEIC) evidence session to provide evidence on behalf of the union and its members and gave their views on whether the current proposals will work for farmers and the environment.

 Speaking after the evidence session, NFU Cymru President Aled Jones said: “NFU Cymru was pleased to be able to contribute to the CCEIC evidence session at the Senedd and reiterate the union’s key lobbying points around the Sustainable Farming Scheme. After years of engagement, including three consultations and two co-design phases, it’s crucial that farmers’ views on the proposals are heard.

 “While NFU Cymru is able to support the broad principle of a universal baseline payment, the union cannot support universal actions that do not fundamentally work for all farmers across all sectors. It is our view that the universal actions should be overhauled.

 "The current proposed ‘cost incurred, income foregone’ methodology does not provide sufficient stability in the absence of the Basic Payment Support (BPS) payment. The ‘cost incurred, income foregone’ methodology will result in zero margins and zero stability. Government needs to provide farmers with an incentive for the goods being delivered for society and the industry will deliver the required outcomes.

 “We simply cannot start the transition to the new scheme until such time as we have an impact assessment that demonstrates that the Sustainable Farming Scheme will deliver the stability that farmers, rural businesses and the wider supply chain need – the same stability and protection of our food producing capabilities currently delivered by the BPS.

 “Today we have made it clear to the committee that Welsh Government’s ambitions are entirely reliant on take up of the scheme by Welsh farmers. The scheme’s universal actions must be attractive, accessible and achievable for Welsh farmers in order for them to deliver on those objectives. The message is clear – environmental works can only be undertaken from a position of farm business viability; farmers must have stability in order to invest in the environment.”