The Welsh government has introduced a range of measures to help Welsh farmers through the coronavirus crisis, including an extension to the BPS application window, a derogation to the three-crop rule, and cash for those still awaiting 2019 payments.
Announcing the new measures, rural affairs minister Lesley Griffiths said: “We are facing a global pandemic the like of which we have not seen in peacetime. This is a worrying time for all families across Wales, especially in our rural and farming communities.
“Our farmers play a crucial role in feeding the nation, and even more so during this global pandemic, and it is vital they have our support.”
Farmers are being given an extra month to submit their Single Application Forms for direct payments, with the deadline now extended to 15 June.
The Welsh government is also waiving the crop diversification requirements for Basic Payments Scheme (BPS) applicants, in the wake of the recent flooding, bringing it into line with England.
This means that BPS recipients can qualify for greening payments using only permanent pasture and Ecological Focus Area declarations.
The Welsh government is also providing a further £5.5m to the 2019 BPS and Glastir land management schemes, to help the cash flow of farmers who are still waiting for payment from last year’s schemes.
Rural Payments Wales will contact eligible farmers, who have until 17 April to apply for up to 70% of their expected 2019 BPS payment, and 50% of their expected Glastir payment.
The support moves have been welcomed by NFU Cymru, which said the blanket derogation from the three-crop rule would be a relief to many farmers who have faced one of the wettest winters on record.
NFU Cymru combinable crops chairman Andrew Davies said: “The unprecedented situation has meant farmers up and down the country have found it difficult to have one crop in the ground, let alone three.
“Many farmers have lost crops planted last autumn, which failed to establish as a result of waterlogged fields, and have faced the significant additional costs associated with replanting and re-establishing crops to meet this rule in 2020.”
A new FarmWell Wales resource was launched by the Welsh government this week, providing information and advice to help keep farm businesses and farmers resilient and plan for the future.