THE 10,500 less favoured area farmers in Wales are being consulted on how they should be supported from 2006.

The current Tir Mynydd scheme, which replaced HLCAs in 2001, pays out £36m annually in area based subsidies.

Individual farmers, their unions and all others with an interest in hill farming are being asked their opinions before modifications made necessary by CAP reform are drafted.

“I recognise how important this support is to those farming in the hills of Wales and I am keen to hear their views before making any changes,” said Carwyn Jones, Welsh assembly rural affairs minister.

“Informed by the industry‘s views I will then seek EC approval.

“My objective is to ensure that farming continues in the uplands of Wales, underpinning our rural communities and benefiting the countryside.”

The consultation period ends on June 25.