Tenant farms in the Welsh uplands will become unprofitable when new direct payment rules come into force in January, the Tenant Farmers Association in Wales has warned.

TFA Cymru said the Welsh government’s decision to cut direct payments to farms on land above 400m, to just €20/ha, would have a considerable impact on many tenant farms.

See also: Welsh union concern over upland support

The association is calling for a dedicated scheme focused on grazing livestock systems in Wales’ moorland areas to help support livelihoods in these areas.

“This cut in direct payments will render some farms unprofitable and if additional funding is not made available to affected businesses, the future of the upland environment will be in jeopardy,’’ warned TFA Cymru chairman Dennis Matheson.

Mr Matheson said he wanted the Welsh Upland Forum – a group set up by the Welsh government in 2005 to provide advice to hill farmers – to work harder as an advocate for upland producers.

He also said he believed the forum needed a better representation from the tenanted sector of agriculture because there were more tenanted holdings in the uplands than in the lowlands.

“The Upland Forum must make it a priority to ensure that it executes properly its function to ‘upland proof’ all new policy and make certain that the next Rural Development Programme for Wales includes a dedicated scheme focused on grazing livestock systems in moorland areas to achieve both farm business and agri-environment benefits,” added Mr Matheson.

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