The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has said the Welsh government must continue to listen to the views of Welsh farmers on the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS).

Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change and Rural Affairs, Huw 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).

He said the government intends for the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) to commence in 2026.

It will preceded by a “preparatory phase” in 2025, providing advice and support to farmers in advance of the scheme’s introduction.

FUW president, Ian Rickman, said the industry’s voice has been “loud and clear” on the SFS, and said it has been a challenging process to get this far for everyone involved.

“It comes as no surprise that the consensus from the mammoth 12,000 farmers and organisations who responded to the consultation calls for significant changes to the scheme proposals,” he said.

“This was also the clear message from our members who responded individually, and fed their views into the union’s comprehensive consultation response earlier this year. We are leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to make this scheme work for farmers.

“We welcome the remarks made by the Cabinet Secretary today as he commits to introducing the scheme only when it is ready.”


Rickman said the SFS needs to be an agricultural support scheme that provides stability for food producing family farms in Wales and considers economic, social and environmental sustainability on equal footings.

“As a union, this remains our ultimate goal,” he said.

The written statement by the Cabinet Secretary referred to the on-going work of the SFS ministerial roundtable, carbon sequestration and officials groups in reviewing and implementing the scheme, in partnership with the farming unions and other stakeholders.

The FUW welcomed the announcement that the SFS will not begin until 2026 and that a preceded preparatory phase will take place next year.

“There is an intense body of work being undertaken by the FUW with the Cabinet Secretary, stakeholders and Welsh government officials, with extremely important discussions having taken place,” Rickman said.

“FUW members can rest assured we are doing our utmost to negotiate a scheme that works for all farmers in Wales from 2026 onwards. This remains our commitment to Welsh farmers.”