Welsh minister announces £4.5m skills funding

Welsh government minister Alun Davies has revealed details of a £4.5m cash injection to help train farmers.

Mr Davies, Wales’ minister for natural resources and food, announced details of Farming Connect – a skills development programme providing 1,500 Welsh farmers with 80% funding towards training and business aid – at a conference on Thursday (23 May).

Wales’ first farming conference in Llandrindod Wells, titled The Business of Farming, brought farmers and ministers together to address the challenges facing the industry.

The conference was held following recommendations made in an independent report called Working Smarter.

The report suggested ways the Welsh government could reduce unnecessary bureaucracy for farmers, and enable them to focus more closely on their businesses and maximising profits.

“If our farming industry is to flourish we must keep business at the heart of everything we do, and focus our support on those farmers who strive to deliver professionally run, profitable and sustainable businesses.”
Alun Davies, Wales’ minister for natural resources and food

According to the minister, the money will last until 2015 and will “help to forge the future we need within the industry”.

Mr Davies said: “If our farming industry is to flourish we must keep business at the heart of everything we do, and focus our support on those farmers who strive to deliver professionally run, profitable and sustainable businesses.”

Looking ahead, Mr Davies added that less reliance on subsidy payments and more focus on business and profitability was needed.

Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones said that agriculture was worth £150m to the Welsh economy, with almost 15,000 people employed directly in farming.

“Today is all about seizing the opportunity to grow the industry in Wales and ensuring that the Welsh government is in pole position to work with the industry,” he added.

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