Glastir rural development scheme opens to Welsh farmers

Welsh farmers will soon be able to bid for a share of £37m through the country’s Rural Development Programme (RDP), known as Glastir.

Five different schemes will open on 29 February offering grants to farming businesses for sustainability projects and land management, animal welfare improvements, food enterprises and also support grants for rural communities.

The Sustainable Production Grant Scheme will offer £6m for capital investments in facilities and equipment related to animal health and welfare, crop storage, livestock housing and handling, renewable energy production and soil and crop management.

See also: Farmworker wages rates in Wales to rise 6%

Grants will range from £16,000 to a maximum of £400,000 and applications will close on 25 April.

The £5m Sustainable Management Scheme will support collaborative landscape scale projects to deliver actions that improve natural resources and deliver real benefits to farms, rural businesses and local communities. The closing date for applications is 7 May.

About £2m is available under the Timber Business Investment Scheme, which will support proposals to encourage both active woodland management and increased value of outputs. It closes on 23 May.

Applications for the largest, the £14m Food Business Investment Scheme, is open until 25 April. The scheme is designed to help primary producers with capital investment support and particularly farm businesses that want to process their own agricultural products.

Up to £4m has been allocated for the Rural Community Development Fund, which aims to tackle poverty in rural communities.

Farmers Union of Wales president Glyn Roberts welcomed the announcement but said more needed to be done.

“We are one of a number of industry bodies which have developed an ambitious joint vision for the Rural Development Programme aimed at bringing about positive changes for entire sectors.

“It is therefore welcome to hear the deputy minister [food and farming minister Rebecca Evans] refer repeatedly to transformational change, and we look forward to hearing more details regarding the schemes announced today and numerous other elements of the RDP.”

Announcing the latest round of funding, Ms Evans had stressed the importance of UK membership of the EU for Wales, saying 200,000 jobs depended on access to the single market and the benefits it provided in facilitating trade.

On 19 March, the Welsh government will open the £6m Co-operation and Supply Chain Development scheme, which will run until 9 May. The scheme will support the development of new products, practices, processes and technologies in the agriculture, forestry and food sectors.

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