Farmer and agronomist, discussing strategy in farm kitchen© Nick Spurling/FLPA / imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

A £6m scheme to support the development of the next generation of farmers is open for applications, the Welsh government has announced.

The Young People into Agriculture scheme will offer financial assistance to high achievers looking to establish a new business or develop an existing business.

It is open for applications from Thursday (10 May), cabinet secretary for energy, planning and rural affairs Lesley Griffiths has confirmed.

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Applications must be made by 12 June and there will be only one application window.

The scheme, agreed as part of the Budget agreement with Plaid Cymru, will support 150 farmers and aims to develop participants’ leadership skills.

Successful applicants will need to demonstrate they have the attributes to lead dynamic businesses and drive change in the wider industry.

Ms Griffiths said the scheme will provide young people with the support they need to enter the industry and gain the necessary skills to build resilient and sustainable businesses.

“Now is the time to prepare for the challenges Brexit brings,” she said. “As a government, we are working hard to support the industry to prepare and build resilience.”

Eligibility criteria

Applicants must be:

  • aged under 40 on 1 April 2018
  • setting up as the head of a holding for the first time, with 51% or more of the business, by 1 September 2018, or
  • have started farming as head of a holding with 51% or more of the business in the 12 months prior to 1 April 2018
  • a micro and small enterprise, with fewer than 50 employees

Existing businesses with a turnover of more than £1m or less than £20,000/year are not eligible.  

For full eligibility criteria and how to apply, visit the Welsh government’s website here.

NFU Cymru response

Welcoming the scheme, NFU Cymru president John Davies said: “It is vitally important that we support the next generation in every way possible and this scheme will provide vital investment to allow young farmers to further progress or kick-start their business.

 “The future of agriculture is dependent on good young farmers, driving forward innovation and improving competitiveness in each sector.”