This evening Senedd Members will vote on whether to pass a new Welsh Agriculture Bill.
The Agriculture Bill will provide Welsh Ministers with the ability to support farmers in the region to adopt practices that allow for sustainable land management, through the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS).
With nearly 90% of Welsh land dedicated to farmland and the latest report from the Climate Change Committee flagging the important impact farming and agricultural can make to address climate change and nature emergencies, this potential legislation has the power to make a big impression on biodiversity.
The Bill comes at a crucial time, as recent shocks have revealed the fragility of the UK’s supply chain. If passed, it has the opportunity to strengthen the Welsh food system.
NFU Cymru President Aled Jones previously depicted the Bill as a historic move and perhaps “the most important piece of legislation” Welsh farmers have seen since the Westminster 1947 Agriculture Act.
What will the Wales Agriculture Bill change?
If passed, the new Bill will see the use of snares and glue traps prohibited, making Wales the first UK country to introduce a complete ban. It would also amend the Forestry Act 1967 to better protect wildlife and the environment during felling operations, as well as providing agricultural tenants with protection to ensure they are not unfairly restricted from accessing financial support.
Sustainable Land Management (SLM) is at the heart of the Bill and SLM objectives have been used to underpin the SFS. As part of the Scheme, farmers who are consistently delivering to the set outcomes will be rewarded financially.
Commenting ahead of the vote, rural affairs minister, Lesley Griffiths said: “The Welsh Agriculture Bill provides us with an opportunity to develop a first-ever made-in-Wales system of support and legislation which works for Welsh farmers, the agriculture sector, our land, and Wales as a whole.
“Our farmers continue to deal with different challenges and this Bill will provide an important framework on which future support for agriculture can be delivered, and outlines how we can keep farmers on the land to produce food sustainably whilst tackling the climate emergency.”
If passed by Welsh Parliament this evening, the Bill will seek Royal Assent, and if received, it will become law in Wales.
Meanwhile, an expert is urging supermarkets to collaborate with suppliers to bring food inflation down.