The Tenant Farmers Association in Wales is looking for breathing space by calling for Rural Payments Wales to review what it considers to be ’exceptional circumstances’ when considering situations where capital works under Glastir agreements cannot be completed.
Some farmers with agreements under the Welsh agri environment scheme, Glastir, receive assistance towards the cost of capital works on farmland – but some are struggling to find funding due to the current economic situation.
“We not believe the Welsh Government properly understands the severe financial difficulties being faced by many within the industry.” TFA Cymru chairman, Dennis Matheson, said today (Tuesday, April 12).
“Cash flow problems are a big issue and should be seen as exceptional circumstances in the context of the ability to comply with obligations under Glastir. Instead, we are seeing farmers being penalised for not being able to complete capital works.
“In the majority of cases, the Basic Payment Scheme counts for well over half of farm income for farmers in Wales. This year there are a lot of people whose payments are considerably delayed due to processing difficulties within RPW.
“This lack of income coupled with an unprecedented downturn in farm gate prices across all sectors of industry has created major cash flow problems.
“I am bitterly disappointed that despite RPW being identified as a major cause of the cash flow problems, including a lack of communication to claimants about timing of payments, it fails to understand the desperate situation of many within the farming community and seeks to add insult to injury by penalising individuals for not being able to complete capital projects,” added Mr Matheson.
“2016 is turning out to be an exceptionally tough year for farmers in Wales and it is only reasonable that RPW should allow farmers facing financial difficulties to be able to extend their capital works completion deadlines.
“Farmers are struggling to pay their bills and the poor weather is making it impossible to carry out necessary capital works.
“At the same time, farmers are finding it difficult with the day-to-day farming tasks while having to chase RPW for the bulk of their income.
“I hope to hear from RPW that it will allow farmers the necessary breathing space they need at this difficult time.”