Cabinet Secretary Lesley Griffiths said the schemes would help young farmers ‘become leaders of the industry’.
Welsh young farmers have been offered the chance to take part in an active leadership role in conjunction with Ministers, senior officials and industry bodies.
Cabinet Secretary Lesley Griffiths announced the plans on Tuesday (January 23) and said the Young People in Agriculture Forum would allow young people to work with Welsh government to develop an agricultural policy for the benefit of agricultural families, businesses and rural Wales.
The scheme will sit alongside another £6million initiative, the Young People into Agriculture Scheme, for ‘high achieving individuals’ looking to establish a new business or develop an existing one.
It is hoped the plans will develop leadership skills for the applicants to lead dynamic businesses and drive change in the wider industry.
Speaking at the launch during the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) farmhouse breakfast, Ms Griffiths said: “I am consistently impressed by the enthusiasm and dedication of young people in Welsh agriculture.
“We must do all we can to build resilience and ensure we create an environment where business can prosper and individuals develop to become leaders of the industry.”
Both initiatives will sit alongside wider Welsh government support for both young and other new entrants, such as Farming Connect and the Farm Business Grant, with the money being made available as part of a budget agreement with Plaid Cymru.
NFU Cymru president John Davies said the union had established a Next Generation Policy Group to allow young farmers the opportunity to have their say on the industry’s future.
He said: “The group has taken part in discussions about the new Young People into Agriculture Scheme with both Lesley Griffiths and Plaid Cymru AM Simon Thomas, who was instrumental in securing the £6million funding for the scheme.
“During these meetings, the group has put their ideas and thoughts for the scheme forward which allowed the voices of young farmers to be heard.”
Glyn Roberts, FUW president, also welcomed the move and said the industry needed youngsters for their ability to bring ‘motivation, new ideas and energy’ to the industry.
“And in the context of Brexit and the changes to come, it is the younger generation that will be more willing to change and look at the opportunities,” he added.
“So more funding directed at our young people is a good thing but the devil will be in the detail.
“The FUW will continue to work with the Cabinet Secretary and we look forward to discussing this and how to better secure the future of farmers in Wales when we meet with her again next week.”