The first ever Welsh Agriculture Bill has been laid before the Senedd today, paving the way for ambitious and transformational legislation to support farmers, sustainable food production, and to conserve and enhance the Welsh countryside, culture and language, Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths announced today.
The Bill also includes the Programme for Government commitment for a complete ban on the use of snares and glue traps. Wales will be the first country in the UK to introduce a complete ban.
This first ‘Made in Wales’ policy framework recognises the complementary objectives of supporting farmers in the sustainable production of food alongside taking action to respond to the climate and nature emergencies, contributing to thriving rural communities and keeping farmers on the land.
At its heart lies Sustainable Land Management which establishes a policy and legislative framework aimed at ensuring farmers can carry on producing high quality food and agricultural goods for generations to come. Sustainable Land Management is based on four key objectives which are to produce foods and other goods in a sustainable manner, to mitigate and adapt to climate change, to maintain and enhance the resilience of our ecosystems and to conserve and enhance the Welsh countryside, culture, and to sustain the Welsh language and promote and facilitate its use
This Bill will introduce protection for agricultural tenants, ensuring they are not unfairly restricted from accessing financial assistance.
The Bill provides Welsh Ministers with the powers necessary to provide future support whilst also ensuring we can continue to support our farmers during a transition period, reflecting our Cooperation Agreement commitment with Plaid Cymru.
Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said:
This historic Welsh Agriculture Bill not only impacts the agriculture sector, but everyone across Wales, from the food we eat, to how it has been grown, harvested, stored and prepared for sale. For the first time, we have the chance to build a system of support and legislation which works for our farmers, our sector, our land and our people.
These are difficult and challenging times for our farmers. Climate change, rising costs, new trade deals and the war in Ukraine, are just some of the issues they face. This Bill provides a framework on which all future agricultural support will be delivered and outlines how we can keep farmers on the land, produce food sustainably and deal with the climate emergency.
It also sets out how Wales will be the first country in the UK to introduce a complete ban on the use of snares and glue traps. These devices catch animals indiscriminately, causing great deal of suffering, and they are not compatible with the high animal welfare standards we strive for here in Wales. A complete ban is the only way forward.
In July I published the outline of our Sustainable Farming Scheme, and this Bill provides the framework on which all future agricultural support can be delivered. Our SFS codesign survey is open until the end of October. I would encourage as many farmers as possible to complete the survey and help us ensure our proposals meet their needs for the future..
I’m extremely proud of our farmers and the agriculture sector here in Wales. Through the provisions in the Bill, I want to ensure we can continue to support and encourage our farmers and producers to create and sustain a thriving agricultural sector.
I look forward to working with Senedd members during their consideration of the Agriculture (Wales) Bill over the coming months.
The Minister will be making a legislative statement in Plenary on 27 September 2022. A copy of the Bill and its supporting documentation is available on the Senedd website.