Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change and Rural Affairs, Huw Irranca-Davies, has said the government intends for the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) to commence in 2026.

The SFS in 2026 will be preceded by a ‘preparatory phase’ in 2025, providing advice and support to farmers in advance of the scheme’s introduction.

Irranca-Davies said further details on the preparatory phase for 2025 will be made available in due course, along with details on the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) in 2025 and other schemes which will be available prior to the introduction of the SFS.

Irranca-Davies published the Welsh government’s response to the feedback received to the ‘Sustainable Farming Scheme: Keeping farmers farming’ consultation today (Thursday, July 11).

“I know that this has been an unsettling time for many farmers and their families. We will continue to work at pace to finalise the scheme so that we can provide certainty about future support as soon as possible,” he said.

“By working together, we can ensure a sustainable agriculture industry in Wales for generations to come.

“I want to reiterate that no decisions on the scheme design have yet been made. We have heard and understood the concerns raised through this consultation process, and it is clear changes need to be made before the scheme is ready to be introduced.

“And I have been clear that the scheme will only be introduced when it is ready. This is why I have announced a new timeframe for the introduction of the scheme.


Irranca-Davies said the consultation was the latest step in developing future agricultural support for Wales.

“I’d like to thank everyone who participated in the consultation and who shared their views in other ways, including through the roadshows held earlier this year,” he said.

“Our ambition is for a vibrant and prosperous farming industry, and the ongoing sustainable production of food is at the core of our proposals.

“As part of this, we need to acknowledge the nature and climate emergency is the main risk to food production over the long term, and our natural ecosystems are the best defence we have in the adaptation and mitigation of climate change.”

Irranca-Davies said that, since his appointment, he has been listening to the farming industry and other key stakeholders and wants to “work in partnership with them to finalise the scheme”.

To this end, he said he has already hosted two ministerial roundtable meetings.

“The purpose of the roundtable is to further develop the partnership approach needed to finalise the design and implementation of the scheme, building on previous phases of co-design and engagement. Whilst final decisions will be taken by Welsh ministers, the roundtable has an important role to play in shaping the scheme.

“Alongside this, the Carbon Sequestration Evidence Panel has met twice and will over the summer consider any further and alternative proposals to achieve additional carbon sequestration within the Universal Actions of the scheme.

“I am grateful for the time and commitment that all stakeholders are providing through the ministerial roundtable and other supporting groups. Their input is essential in informing the decisions Welsh ministers will ultimately need to take on the scheme design and its delivery.”

Irranca-Davies said he expects to provide updates from the ministerial roundtable periodically throughout the year.