Welsh minister considers upland support

Farmers in the Welsh uplands could be in line for a new package of financial support.

The Welsh government’s decision to abandon Less Favoured Area payments has been criticised by many, with politician, Welsh Assembly member William Powell, described it as “extremely damaging”.

But the Welsh government has now given a glimmer of optimism for upland farmers. It says it recognises that upland farmers are subject to a range of pressures and challenges.

“The minister for natural resources and food, Alun Davies, has commissioned a review into the resilience of the Welsh uplands and is considering a new package of support under the next Rural Development Plan to help upland farms to secure a sustainable and prosperous future,” said a Welsh government spokesman.

Mr Powell welcomed the move but called for more detail on these plans.

Meanwhile, John Owen, who chairs the NFU Cymru LFA Board, welcomed the acknowledgement by the Welsh government of the twin economic and environmental challenges faced by farmers operating in the LFA.

“The particular difficulties facing our LFA farmers have, to my mind, never been more apparent than they were earlier this year when rocketing input costs, combined with some of the worst weather we have seen in many years, left so many LFA farmers struggling to survive,” he said.

“With the ending of Tir Mynydd in March 2012, there is now no dedicated support scheme for Wales’ hill and upland farmers.”

NFU Cymru, he added, would like to see a reinstatement of a support scheme under the Wales Rural Development Plan.

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