Rebecca Evans, Deputy Minister for Farming and Food
Today I welcome Gareth Williams’ Improving and Increasing Support to Welsh Farmers and Foresters Report. This independent review of Farming Connect, which the Welsh Government commissioned earlier this year, considers the proposed approach to delivering knowledge transfer, advice and innovation under the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme.
Gareth Williams’ report makes a number of clear and helpful recommendations on what the future Farming Connect programme should include and I have accepted all of his recommendations. My officials have drawn up an action plan to ensure effective and timely implementation of those recommendations, working closely with industry stakeholders. In the main, the recommendations will be delivered through the 2014-2020 RDP.
Farming Connect is a strong and trusted brand that I want to see not only continue but to grow, making it accessible to more people. Knowledge transfer and innovation are critically important in helping to further professionalise the agricultural industry, embedding a culture of continuous professional development and an improved focus on farming as a business. It is essential that farmers, foresters and food businesses embrace the opportunities that the new RDP generally and Farming Connect specifically will provide.
I wish to record my sincere thanks to Gareth Williams and others who helped inform this important piece of work.