Proposals could have profound effect on Welsh meat industry post Brexit

8 August 2018

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The Welsh Government is consulting on its proposals for a new Land Management Programme to replace the current Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) when the UK exits the EU next March. The proposal consists of two schemes, the first being Economic Resilience, focusing on food and timber production, and the second a Public Goods scheme, which is concerned with environmental issues. Both schemes will operate in parallel and farmers should be able to benefit from both.

Under the Economic Resilience scheme, farm and forestry businesses are to receive targeted investment to support key areas centred on marketing opportunities both in the UK and abroad, productivity improvements, diversification, risk management, and skills and innovation. Both small scale changes and major investment into the supply chain will be supported. Emphasis is placed on high animal health and welfare standards, competitiveness and resilience in future markets, and diversifying into new areas of grown produce, renewable energy and tourism.

Land managers will receive a new income stream that will be ‘more flexible’ than Glastir in return for delivery in three key areas under the Public Goods scheme. These address flood risk reduction, decarbonisation and habitat improvements. The reinstatement of landscape features that slow water flow and reduce carbon emissions, such as tree planting and bog and marshy grassland restoration, will be supported. Improving and creating habitats by removing invasive species, planting meadows and re-introducing cattle to under-grazed uplands will also be encouraged. More appealing landscapes are considered important to boosting tourism.

Chris Hyde, Associate Director with Cooke & Arkwright’s Land Agency said, “It is evident that in publishing these proposals for future support to land managers, the Welsh Government is shifting the emphasis markedly away from farming in its truest sense to a greener, more diverse rural economy.  This is likely to have a particularly profound effect on the red meat industry in Wales where comparatively high production costs and an over-supply in the marketplace has been masked by EU policy and financial backing.  Provision of support towards diversification and environmental enhancement will potentially change the face of farming in Wales.”

The BPS 2018 and 2019, and current Glastir contracts will be honoured, with a phased reduction from 2020 as new schemes come into place. The consultation runs until 30 October 2018 and a programme of meetings and events will be run across Wales in coming months.