Welsh farmers are showing “concern and worry” towards Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) proposals, according to NFU Cymru.

The Welsh farming union has just concluded a series of roadshows as part of a member engagement programme it has been running since the launch of the Welsh government’s SFS ‘Keeping Farmers Farming’ consultation in December.

NFU Cymru president Aled Jones said “More than 2,000 farmers and members of rural businesses attended our nine events.

“This goes to show the amount of concern and worry that farmers have towards these proposals.

“Almost all of the comments fed back to us during these events gave a truly worrying picture of what farmers see the future of their farms looking like if these proposals stand.”

Jones said the proposals as they stand will have far-reaching impacts on Welsh farming, rural businesses and communities and that it is vital that the Welsh government listens to these concerns.

“Whilst the title of the consultation suggests Welsh government want to ‘keep farmers farming’ this will not happen if we are not profitable,” he said.

NFU Cymru roadshows

The union’s roadshows took place across Wales at Welshpool, Ruthin, Anglesey, Porthmadog, Brecon, Porthcawl, Aberystwyth, Narberth and concluded with a special tenant’s event at Builth Wells.

They were designed to ensure famers are fully aware of the consultation proposals and what would be expected of them if, based on the current proposals, they sign up to the SFS from 2025.  

“NFU Cymru is calling for a long-term stability payment to be included as an integral element of the SFS, a universal payment that provides fair reward and a 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,” Jones said.

“The scheme must deliver the same level of stability to farming businesses, the supply chain and our rural communities.

“We need a Sustainable Farming Scheme that has policies to underpin the continued supply of high quality and affordable food to feed the nation.

“It is clear to us and all who attended the roadshows that the current proposals for the universal tier and scheme requirements need a major overhaul.”

Jones said the union’s work “will not stop here” and that, now the roadshows are over, it will turn its efforts towards ensuring farmers across Wales have their say on these future proposals.

He is urging farmers to respond to the consultation, either via the Welsh government website or via the portal on the NFU Cymru website.

“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,” he said.