Welsh farmers seek assurances on Glastir funding for 2024

Welsh farmers are seeking assurances from government that funding for Glastir agri-environment schemes will continue in 2024 during Wales’ transition to new schemes for farm support payments.

The three main agri-environment schemes – Glastir Advanced, Commons and Organic – currently provide about £35m worth of funding each year to Welsh farmers and land managers. 

Contracts for all three schemes are due to end in December 2023, but the Welsh government has not committed to any extension to funding for 2024 in the Wales Rural Development Programme.

See also: Welsh BPS payments to remain unchanged for next two years

As things stand, farmers in Glastir schemes face a hiatus in funding until the transition to the new Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) in 2025.

Funding ‘cliff edge’

NFU Cymru had welcomed the commitment from Welsh government before Christmas that BPS payments will continue to be funded to the same levels in 2023 and 2024 (worth about £240m each year), subject to budget availability from the Westminster government.

However, union leaders say farmers and land managers with Glastir agreements are becoming increasingly nervous that no similar commitment has yet been made.

“Farmers are facing a cliff edge in funding. We welcome certainty over BPS, but the Welsh government has not yet committed to Glastir extensions beyond 2023,” said Hedd Pugh, NFU Cymru’s rural affairs board chairman.

“We would like to know if the government plans to extend funding for the Glastir schemes in 2024 – or introduce an alternative area-based transitional measure.”

Smaller schemes

There are some smaller capital schemes available for farmers to apply for, such as the Glastir Small Grants and Woodland Creation Grants.

But NFU Cymru says these do not offer the same levels of funding as the main Glastir schemes.

Glastir Advanced provides funding for more than 2,000 Welsh farmers and land managers, and there are about 500 Glastir Organics and 184 Glastir Commons agreements in place.

NFU Cymru says there are “compelling reasons” why the Welsh government must continue to fund Glastir schemes throughout the transition to the SFS.

This would provide certainty for farm businesses in existing schemes, but also provide confidence that rewarding farmers for the delivery of environmental outcomes is the direction of travel.

In England, Defra’s agricultural transition plan includes a commitment to fund agri-
environment schemes throughout the transition.

“We need Welsh government to ‘walk the walk’ and make a similar commitment,” said Mr Pugh.

A Welsh government spokesperson said: “The rural affairs minister [Lesley Griffiths] announced Glastir would be extended until December 2023. We are considering our options on future support of the scheme.”

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