Agricultural Policy

Expression of Interest Window Dates

Scheme Summary Window Close
Farming Connect Skills and Training Programme The programme allows anyone registered with Farming Connect to apply for funding of up to 80% towards completing short training courses. The full list of courses available can be viewed here and further information is available here. 28 February 2020
Enabling Natural Resources and Well-being Scheme This scheme offers support to businesses for projects which work towards the Well-being of Future Generations Act.  It works towards the 6 priorities of Rural Development i.e. conserving and enhancing wildlife and biodiversity, therefore activities could include improving and enhancing local environment quality.  Further information regarding the scheme can be found here. 13 March 2020
HCC Hill Ram Scheme The second expression of interest window is now open for HCC’s Hill Ram Scheme.  The scheme offers the chance for Welsh hill farmers to improve performance recording with the use of DNA parentage technology to help improve flock performance.  There are currently 29 flocks across Wales participating in the scheme and HCC is now looking to recruit a further 20 to join the scheme.  Those interested should contact the HCC on 01970 625050.  The EOI form can be found here. 31 March 2020
Farming Connect Agri Academy The application window for the 2020 Agri Academy is now open.  The Academy provides training, mentoring and support in 3 sessions throughout the programme.  There are 2 separate elements, the Business and Innovation Programme, and the Junior Programme.  Follow here and select the programme you are interested in to find out more information, key dates and how to apply. 31 March 2020
Glastir Small Grants Claim Deadline The deadline to claim for Glastir Small Grants work is 31 March 2020.  By this date, all applicants must have completed the practical work, taken geo-tag photos and filled in the claims form.  Boundaries such as hedges and fences must be measures to ensure the claimant does not over-claim. 31 March 2020
Dŵr Cymru Pesticide Scheme Dŵr Cymru will be relaunching their free and confidential Pesticide Disposal Scheme for farmers, growers, gamekeepers, foresters and land managers to safely dispose of any wanted or out of date pesticides and herbicides.  Participants that took part in 2019 can take part again in 2020 and dispose of 30L/Kg of eligible products for free. Register between 1 - 31 March 2020
Farm Business Grant The 7th expression of interest window for the Farm Business Grant opens on 2 March 2020. In order to be eligible, scheme members will have to attend a Farming Connect event - ‘Farming for the Future’, if they have not already attended one in the past:
  • March 3 2020, Glastir, Llanrwst, 7pm
  • March 5 2020, Penglais School, Aberystwyth, 7pm
  • March 10 2020, The Princess Royal Theatre, Port Talbot, 7pm
Contact Farming Connect to book your place.
10 April 2020
BPS Transfer of Entitlements You can now transfer BPS entitlements through sale, lease or inheritance.  It must be accessed through the RPW online account.  The recipient of entitlements transferred by sale or lease must meet the Active Farmer requirements (see SAF Rules for details). 30 April 2020

Consultations Pending

i) Welsh Government Clean Air Plan For Wales

The aim of the Clean Air Plan for Wales is to improve air quality and ‘reduce the burden of poor air quality on human health, biodiversity and the natural environment in Wales’.

The plan uses themes to address areas of impact where future action is required. These themes include improving air quality to:
Protect the health and well-being of current and future generations
Support our natural environment, ecosystems and biodiversity
Support a prosperous Wales
Support a sustainable place

Please follow click here for the consultation document. Deadline for responses is 10 March 2020.


ii) Welsh Government Changes to Planning and Related Applications Fees

This Welsh Government consultation proposes to retain the current planning fee structure as set out in the 2015 regulations in the short-term and increase all planning fees by around 20%. In addition, to support Local Planning Authorities when determining applications for certificates of appropriate alternative development, they propose to introduce a fee of £230 per application.

In the longer term, Welsh Government aims to consider whether there is a need to reform the method of charging planning fees for supporting the cost recovery process.

Please follow click here for the consultation document. Deadline for responses is 13 March 2020.


iii) Welsh Government Beyond Recycling - Circular Economy Strategy

Welsh Government is aiming to move towards a circular economy in Wales whereby waste is avoided, as much as possible is recycled and products stay in use for longer. From 1997 to 2017, Wales has transformed from a nation which recycled less than 5% of its municipal waste, to become an international leader that recycles 63%. Likewise, greenhouse gas emissions from waste reduced by 60% between 2001 and 2017.

The consultation looks to produce a strategy that will make Wales:

  • A world leader in recycling
  • Phase out single use plastic
  • Invest in clean technology for materials collection by introducing zero emission vehicles
  • Make more efficient use of our food working with businesses from farm to fork
  • Priorities the purchasing of wood, re-manufactured and recycled content
  • Enable communities to take collective action
  • Support all businesses in Wales to reduce their carbon footprint and become more resource efficient
  • And take full responsibility for our waste

Please follow click here to view the consultation document and associated documents which summarise the strategy. Deadline for responses is 3 April 2020.

Farming in Wales is Solution to Climate Change says FUW

Farming in Wales has a big part to play in addressing the climate change crisis and farmers are geared up to do just that, the Farmers’ Union of Wales has said.

But addressing the key findings in the latest ‘Land use: Policies for a Net Zero UK’ by the Committee on Climate change, the union warned of the dangers of focusing on livestock production or inappropriate tree planting.

The report highlights some critical issues, including the need for a strong UK food production sector and the dangers of delivering UK emissions reductions at the expense of increasing our reliance on food imported from countries with far greater carbon footprints. Agriculture is currently responsible for around 10 percent of UK emissions, with methane from livestock production making up just over half of this figure. By comparison, transport and energy make up around a half of all UK emissions.

This means that if we stopped producing food completely in the UK, 90 percent of the problem would still be there. Indeed, the Committee recognised that switching away from Welsh and UK produced red meat would increase the nation’s carbon footprint because we have some of the lowest greenhouse gas emissions of meat reared anywhere in the world.

Direct Payments To Farmers Bill Introduced To House of Commons

The Direct Payments to Farmers (Legislative Continuity) Bill was introduced to the House of Commons on the 9th of January to ensure farmers participating in the Basic Payment Scheme in 2020 can be paid as normal from the beginning of December 2020.

The Withdrawal Agreement effectively means the UK remains subject to the bulk of EU schemes and rules during the 11 month transition period, because BPS payments made from the beginning of December onwards would normally come from the following year's EU budget (these budgetary years are calendar years). However, this facility was excluded from the Withdrawal Agreement since the UK Government did not want to draw money from the 2021 EU budget in order to make BPS payments in December 2020 as this would mean becoming a contributor to the next (2021-2027) EU budget without being a Member State.

As such, the Bill allows BPS payments to come from domestic UK funds and is in a sense a housekeeping exercise. However, the FUW has queried whether it requires funding to be paid to farmers or whether devolved nations, for example, could divert the funds to other areas of spending (which the EU Regulations does not allow).

Cattle Slaughter Numbers Due To Bovine TB Are Unsustainable

The latest data relating to bovine TB in Wales has revealed an alarming and unsustainable number of cattle slaughtered due to this disease. According to recent data, the number of cattle slaughtered in Wales in the 12 months to October 2019 was 12,742.

Indeed, whilst the most recent data reveals a 12 percent fall in New Herd Incidents in the 12 months to October 2019, the number of cattle slaughtered over the same period was 24 percent higher than the previous year.

Although the data from TB Dashboard shows improvement in some areas, the number of cattle slaughtered remains unsustainably high. Just 917 cattle were culled in 1996 due to this disease and it is a sad and disturbing fact that the Welsh cattle sector has now become somewhat used to cattle slaughterings reaching many thousands each year.

Losing TB-free status is devastating to farming families and their businesses. The loss of precious stock and the restrictions on a farm business can be incredibly destructive and it is extremely distressing for our members who have worked hard to gain TB-free status, only to lose it again in the subsequent years.

A TB breakdown is not only financially crippling for the farm, but also impacts more widely as struggling farm businesses are less able to contribute to both the local economy and further afield.

High sensitivity testing, such as gamma testing and the removal of inconclusive reactors at severe interpretation, is blamed for some of this rise. However, this will be of little comfort to FUW members, many of whom have seen a huge number of cattle removed from their farm.

Despite a wealth of evidence on the important contribution of wildlife control to TB eradication in some places, the current TB programme continues to focus almost entirely on cattle controls. The FUW has continued to reiterate members concerns regarding the implementation of measures such as high sensitivity testing, without significant measures to tackle the disease in wildlife.

The number of cattle herds registered in Wales has declined by 43 per cent since 1996. Bovine TB is one of the most serious issues facing Welsh cattle farmers and a more holistic approach, which seriously tackles the wildlife reservoir, is required urgently.