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Have your say on future farm support, as final Sustainable Farming Scheme consultation published

The final consultation on the Sustainable Farming Scheme  which will be the main support for farmers in Wales from 2025, aiming to make Welsh farmers world leaders in sustainable farming, is published today [Thursday, 14 December].

The Sustainable Farming Scheme aims to secure food production systems, keep farmers farming the land, safeguard the environment, and address the urgent call of the climate and nature emergency.

The Scheme will support farmers to become more efficient and resilient, enabling them to respond to changing consumer demands and compete in a decarbonising global economy.

The proposals have been shaped by feedback received from farmers and the wider industry over three consultations and two phases of co-design. No final decision on the scheme will be taken until after this consultation.

Changes in the Scheme in response to this feedback include making the scheme accessible to all farmers in Wales from 2025, phasing the introduction of the Collaborative and Optional actions and ensuring actions are proportionate and appropriate to farming in Wales.  This includes adjustments to the proposal for requirements for minimum 10 per cent tree cover and land for biodiversity.   

The 17 Universal Actions, which support payment for actions which go beyond the legal requirement have been designed to help farmers make the best of their resources and support further action.

Universal Actions include:

  • Work with your vet to establish an ongoing proactive approach to animal health and biosecurity.
  • Complete an annual self-assessment to optimise business and environmental performance.
  • Develop hedgerows to become thick dense stockproof barriers which also provide valuable shelter, and an important habitat for wildlife.
  • Maintain existing woodlands to optimise benefits for livestock, wildlife, and business diversification.
  • Active management of modified peatlands to protect soil carbon stocks.

While the consultation does not include payment rates it proposes to provide a Universal Baseline Payment to farmers for carrying out the Universal Actions, which can be delivered by farms across Wales.

A Stability Payment is intended to support the move from BPS to the Scheme, by providing continuity of income. BPS is proposed to be phased out by 2029, with proposed changes to BPS rules and an annual reduction of the payment rate

Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said: “I’m pleased to publish the final consultation on the Sustainable Farming Scheme today.  I’d like to thank all those who have been involved in the process so far.

“We face many challenges including a difficult financial landscape, the  climate and nature emergency and its profound impact on our vital food production.

“The urgency of the climate and nature emergency cannot be overstated.  We have seen first hand the impact of extreme weather patterns such as drought and floods on farming.  These events will only increase in frequency and are the biggest threat to sustainable food production.

“That is why we must ensure future support for the industry addresses this issue, so Wales’ farmers are resilient and able to continue to produce food sustainably. 

“To be resilient and sustainable means to be able to adapt to new evidence, new priorities and new challenges. The Scheme has been designed to provide a clear long term structure with which we can all become familiar, but one which continues to evolve in a changing world.

“In getting to this point with the SFS, we have never engaged so thoroughly with our farmers and stakeholders. We still want to hear their views and  I would encourage everyone to take part in this important consultation.  No final decision will be taken on the SFS until after this consultation has taken place and the responses considered.”

          Whilst the Sustainable Farming Scheme as a whole is not covered, the proposed continuation of stability payments which will be available beyond this Senedd term and the transition period are part of the Cooperation Agreement with Plaid Cymru.

Notes to editors


The Sustainable Land Management Objectives from the Agriculture (Wales) Act 2023 which are the basis for the SFS are:

  • To produce food in a sustainable manner
  • To mitigate and adapt to climate change.
  • To maintain and enhance the resilience of ecosystems and the benefits they provide.
  • To conserve and enhance the countryside and cultural resources and promote public access to and engagement with them, and to sustain the Welsh language and promote and facilitate its use.

We have refined the minimum tree cover requirement to address the concerns raised about unplantable areas. For example:

  • Some tenant farmers may not be able to plant trees or manage existing woodland due to the tenancy agreement.
  • Permanent features such as roads, yards, hard standings, ponds cannot be planted.
  • It would not be appropriate to plant trees in priority or high-quality habitats such as peatland.
  • The 10% requirement will need to be met by 2030.


This means the 10% tree cover requirement will not be calculated on the whole farm area, rather it will be calculated on the remaining area once these unplantable areas have been removed from the calculation.


Early access embargoed version of the consultation attached, final version to follow.