The Welsh government could see a second legal challenge to its Basic Payment Scheme arrangements, according to reports.
The government was forced to rip up its plans for implementation of the scheme late last year after upland farmers brought forward a judicial review.
There is now speculation that a group of lowland farmers is considering a similar move because they stand to lose out heavily following the Welsh government’s recent decision to introduce a flat rate payment by 2019.
See also: Upland farmers secure better BPS deal
It is understood that several farmers met up at the Royal Welsh Show to discuss the possibility of legal action. One theory is that they might make a challenge on the grounds they had been given “reasonable expectation” of a higher rate of payment.
But William Powell, Welsh Liberal Democrat AM for mid and west Wales and shadow minister for food and farming, urged any farmers considering such action to proceed with extreme caution.
“Whilst I recognise the disappointment and trading difficulties that the deputy minister, Rebecca Evans’, recent announcement may bring to certain farm businesses, I think it is important to look at the wider picture,” he said.
“The ‘perfect storm’ facing Welsh agriculture is genuine, with the collapse in farmgate prices for milk, combined with disappointing lamb prices and New Zealand produce being imported into Wales in unprecedented quantities.
“Information that I have gleaned from banks involved in supporting Welsh agriculture indicates that later this year we are in real danger of large-scale cashflow problems leading to farm bankruptcies across Wales.
“Any action triggered by a section of Welsh farmers that threatens delay in vital BPS payments for all has the potential to unleash a disaster.”