Field with a ewe and two lambs

Field with a ewe and two lambs

Sustainable Farming Scheme: 2024 update

Published 11/04/2024   |   Reading Time minutes

The Welsh Government published its highly anticipated Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) proposals in December 2023 – the future agricultural support scheme.

The proposals, which build on previous consultations, would reward farmers for actions to promote Sustainable Land Management. They provide a significant departure from the current system’s direct payments, with more emphasis on reward for public goods, particularly environmental actions.

The proposals have been met with strong reaction from the farming industry, with concerns around the feasibility of the proposals for different farming systems. There is concern around the payment methodology and potential budget. Farming unions warn that poor up-take will limit the scheme’s intended results. The SFS is planned for 2025 but farming unions have said the Welsh Government may need to delay introduction to ensure the new system provides sufficient stability for agricultural businesses.

Environmental groups warn of the urgency of the climate and nature emergencies. Although they welcome the ambition of the proposals, there is consensus the scheme may not be sufficiently attractive as drafted.

The Senedd has been scrutinising the scheme and attention now turns to the new Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change and Rural Affairs for next steps.

In our briefing we summarise the proposals and stakeholder reaction.

Article by Dr Katy Orford, Senedd Research, Welsh Parliament