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Senedd postpones farming scheme after rural backlash

The new farming subsidy scheme is postponed until 2026.

In a move welcomed by the rural community, the Welsh government has postponed the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS), which would have required farmers to allocate 20% of their land to environmental measures (News, 24 April). 

Scheduled to replace EU-era direct subsidies for Welsh farmers next year, the proposals prompted hundreds of farmers to protest outside the Senedd in Cardiff in February. Organisers claimed the demonstrations were the last resort of an increasingly desperate community. 

Now Rural Affairs Secretary Huw Irranca- Davies has announced the transition to the new scheme would be delayed until 2026. He said the decision had been made after “meaningful engagement with the farming sector”. 

Rachel Evans, director of the Countryside Alliance Wales, said: “We cautiously welcome the announcement [about SFS] but remain fully of the view that the Welsh government needs to do much more to the bridge the gap with rural Wales and get out of the ‘Cardiff vs countryside’ mindset.” 

Farmer and television personality Gareth Wyn Jones told Shooting Times: “It’s great news for our industry. It’s time to regroup and share our thoughts with the government on the best way to produce food in a sustainable, affordable, and environmentally friendly way.”