Farm groups have given a mixed reaction to a Welsh Government announcement that £80 million will be pumped into a series of support schemes through the Rural Development Programme (RDP).
The cash will be used to extend some Glastir agreements and invest in the Sustainable Production Grant and Farm Business Grant programmes.
Rural Affairs Secretary Lesley Griffiths said: “I am pleased to be able to announce a significant package of support for farmers today through the RDP.
“It will help the industry face the upcoming challenges of Brexit alongside the immediate and ongoing problems associated with agriculture pollution.”
£62.9 million will be used to extend all Glastir Advanced agreements, including underlying Glastir Entry elements where they are in place, all Glastir Commons agreements and all Glastir Organics contracts to 2021.
There will also be a further round of Glastir Small Grants to ‘ensure a smooth transition to the new Public Goods Scheme’.
NFU Cymru president John Davies welcomed the announcement, but expressed concern that farmers with Glastir Entry agreements would not benefit from an extension.
“We would ask that Welsh Government maintain the flexibility to offer further extensions in the future if proposed new schemes for Wales have not been fully designed and robustly tested and piloted to prove that they can continue to deliver economically, environmentally, socially and culturally for Welsh society,” he added.
A further £16 million will go to the Sustainable Production Grant to help farmers prepare for the introduction of new rules to protect water from agricultural pollution.
FUW president Glyn Roberts warned Ministers would need to ensure disproportionate regulations did not undermine the positive impact of the new cash.
“The allocation of funding which would fund works to mitigate problems is very welcome, but Welsh Government must be careful not to introduce draconian blanket rules at the same time to address problems on a tiny proportion of Welsh farms,” he said.
“Blanket rules would cause real problems in vast areas where there are no issues, and we need to use funding and all the tools available – especially voluntary approaches – in an intelligent and targeted way.”