Farmers across Wales have been told that their main cash subsidy will remain in place for another year.
The current Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) was due to be phased out from 2020 in the wake of Brexit, but the news wasn’t well received by unions who claimed the move would kill the industry and they will now remain until 2021.
Rural affairs secretary, Lesley Griffiths, explained that the extension would enable farms to prepare for a new approach in plenty of time.
During her speech at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair, Griffiths said that the existing scheme will not be replaced until new ones are ready.
“I realise that this signals big change for the sector at an uncertain time,” Ms Griffiths said.
“The transition period is vitally important and is why I am today announcing the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) will remain unchanged for a further year in 2020, to provide certainty and help farmers transition smoothly to a new Land Management Programme.”
The subsidies that come from the EU amount to approximately £350m a year and make up an average of 80% of Welsh farm incomes.
What do they want to replace it with?
When it comes to eventually replacing the subsidies, two new schemes have been proposed by the Welsh government, with one offering business grants and being centred around economic resilience.
The other scheme would pay farmers for ‘public goods services’, which applies to work that helps and protects the environment.
The economic resilience scheme will aim to increase competitiveness by targeting investments and improvements in food productivity.
The public goods scheme is designed to provide money for challenges like climate change, flood risk and water quality that farmers face on a regular basis, and the aim is to have both of these schemes in place by 2025.
If you’re going to be affected by the subsidy changes and are currently considering your finance options, you can find out more by calling 0115 958 6872, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or filling in an enquiry form.