A £40m scheme will be available to farmers to help them reduce their carbon emissions and to improve their resilience and competitiveness, including through diversification, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths announced today (Friday 6th January).
A small capital grants scheme for farmers was a commitment in Taking Wales Forward, the Welsh Government's programme for government for the next five years. The scheme, which is being part-funded from the Welsh Government’s Rural Development Programme, has been announced as part of the Welsh Government’s 2017-18 final Budget.
The Welsh Government is investing £20m in the scheme which will be co-financed by the Rural Development Programme.
It will distribute financial support of up to £12,000 at a 40% grant rate over a four-year period. Farmers across Wales will be able to invest in around 80 items linked to:
- Animal health, genetics and performance
- Crop management
- Energy efficiency
- Resource efficiency
The Welsh Government has worked with farming unions and other partners to develop a list of capital items with standardised specifications and costs. The proposed items offer applicants the opportunity to achieve a step-change in their business performance.
The scheme is consistent with the Welsh Government’s priorities for agriculture and the Strategic Framework Partnership Group for Agriculture, Amaeth Cymru’s vision of a prosperous, resilient agriculture industry promoting Wales’ present and future wellbeing.
Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, said:
“I am delighted we are able to announce this £40m package of support to help farmers transform their businesses. This was a key commitment in our Programme for Government: Taking Wales Forward and we are delivering on our promise.
“We have worked with farming unions and other partners to identify how best to support farmers to achieve this and I would like to thank them for working so closely with us on this important initiative.
“We see this money very much as an investment in our farmers which will benefit Wales as a whole. It will enable our farmers to operate in a more efficient and environmentally-friendly way and make their businesses more competitive.
“This is undoubtedly a boost for Welsh farming at a time when there is a lot of uncertainty about what the future holds following the UK’s decision to leave the EU. The new support I am announcing today will be of considerable assistance as our farmers begin to consider how best to shape their businesses to thrive in a post-Brexit world.
“A focus on early and effective business planning is vitally important and support with this is available from a number of quarters including our own Farming Connect programme, the benefits of which have been enjoyed by many farmers in Wales over recent years.”
Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford added:
“Our 2017-18 Budget provides ambition and stability in uncertain times. The additional funding supports our ambition for successful and sustainable rural communities and will benefit individuals, families and strengthen communities across Wales.”
The first application window is expected to open from April 2017 and further advice and guidance on how to apply will be made available on the Welsh Government website.
A vote on the final Budget will be held in the National Assembly on January 10.