I am writing this column with a plea to you all, to please respond to the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) consultation, writes NFU Cymru President Aled Jones.

I will not apologise for this plea, as after all, this is the most important upheaval facing Welsh agriculture for a generation and it is imperative that we get this right, failure to do so will have far reaching consequences for our livelihoods and farming as we know it.

For those of you who aren’t aware, Welsh Government launched its consultation on the final proposals for the new scheme, to replace the Common Agricultural Policy legacy schemes, including the Basic Payment Scheme from 2025, back in December.

NFU Cymru has undertaken a series of successful yet sobering roadshows as part of a comprehensive member engagement programme. As part of these roadshows, and in its engagement, NFU Cymru has consistently highlighted that the scheme must continue to secure the continued supply of safe, high quality and affordable food from Wales. We are clear that the proposals have to work for all farmers, including tenants and commoners.

At the time of writing, we have engaged with over 2,500 farmers and members of rural business at our roadshows and other events which just goes to show the amount of concern and worry that there is towards these proposals. Almost all of the comments fed back to us during these events gave a truly worrying picture of what famers see the future of their farms looking like, if these proposals stand.

As they stand, the proposals will have far reaching impacts on Welsh farming, rural businesses and communities and it is vital that Welsh Government listen to these concerns.

As a union, we have been asking for a long-term stability payment to be included as an integral element of the SFS, a universal payment that provides fair reward and meaningful income stream for farmers undertaking environmental work on behalf of society, and a set of universal actions that work for all farm sectors, types and regions of Wales. It must continue to deliver the same level of stability to farming businesses, the supply chain and our rural communities.

There has never been a more important time to have your say and make sure the views of the people who continue to produce high quality food, to extremely high welfare standards, all while creating and enhancing the environment for all to enjoy, are heard loud and clear. This is our last chance to get this right so please respond, get your friends and family members to respond, and make sure you have your say on the future of Welsh agriculture.

Please visit the NFU Cymru website for more information on how to respond.