Second Window for Farm Business Grant Scheme

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Further to our blog in April regarding the Farm Business Grant Scheme, the Welsh Government will be opening the second window for those to apply for the scheme this month. As last time, the window will be open for two months, with a total of £40m funding available over the course of the scheme running, until 2020.

More detailed guidance has been published by the Welsh Government regarding the scheme, and can be found here.

Those looking to apply are reminded to make sure you have attended a ‘Farming Connect: Farming for the Future’ event to ensure you are eligible to make an application, as well as being registered with Farming Connect and Welsh Government Rural Payments Wales.

For more information about the scheme, please visit the Welsh Government Website.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

Welsh Government Consultation

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The Welsh Government has recently launched a significant consultation Taking Forward Wales’ Sustainable Management of Natural Resources. It represents a wide-ranging and radical series of ideas in agriculture, designated landscapes, access, water abstraction and drainage, forestry, regulation and more. See the document here.

Rebecca Williams, CLA Cymru Director says, “Land owners, managers and farmers should focus on these proposals, understand their implications and assist us in providing a strong evidence-based response to the Welsh Government.”

As well as presenting a range of very technical issues which will impact on farmers, landowners and foresters, the consultation is seeking views on legislation that may be needed post-Brexit.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

 

New Small Grant Scheme for Welsh Farmers

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The new tax year brings some good news for farmers as the Welsh Government has announced it has earmarked £40 million for a new Small Grants Scheme in Wales to “help farmers transform their business”.

The scheme will be part funded by the Rural Development Programme, and will offer support over a 4-year period for up to 40% of eligible costs in the following areas:

  • Animal health, genetics and performance
  • Crop management
  • Energy efficiency
  • Resource efficiency
  • Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

The maximum grant will be £12,000 and around 80 items will qualify as eligible costs in the relevant categories.

It is hoped the scheme will enable farm businesses to be more competitive, whilst being more efficient, more diverse and environmentally aware.

The move is linked to the Welsh Assembly’s 5-year programme of “Taking Wales Forward”, and is expected to be open for applications in April 2017.  Further details will be available shortly on the Government website.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

Increased Levels Help Trigger Nationwide Campaign

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Increased traces of farm pesticides have triggered a campaign to encourage farmers to use alternatives to control weeds.

Welsh Water found traces of the pesticides in areas where they had not been previously found, and explained that while the levels were too low to pose a risk to those drinking the water, they were enough to breach their ‘rigorous drinking water standards.’

new public awareness campaign – PestSmart – was launched on 28 November at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair and includes a scheme in which farmers and foresters can safely dispose of unwanted, out of date or unlicensed pesticides in targeted areas – for free.

PestSmart is a joint initiative between Welsh Water and Natural Resources Wales and is supported by the Welsh government.

Welsh Water is also extending and expanding its weed wiper trial, which allows farmers to hire special machines for free. The trial will now run until 2020.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

Water Abstraction License Reforms

Tomato Water

Both Defra and the Welsh Government have announced plans to abolish Water Abstraction Licences and replace them with Water Abstraction Permits in the early 2020’s.The current licencing system was initially set up in the 1960’s and has been described as not flexible or modern enough to cope with the needs of various stakeholders, such as the environment, farming, climate change and the needs of an increasing population.

The reform aims to provide those who need to abstract water with an allocated volume based on the amounts used over the past decade during peak times.

With this comes the proposed abolition of ‘section 57’ which restricts the use of spray irrigation during droughts. Although this will be welcomed by most, it is likely that other regulations will come into force during times of low river flow.

There are many factors concerning the transition between the two systems which include calls for possible tax incentives for farmers who build reservoirs to store surplus water, as well as the new permit system to be introduced at a pace which allows farmers to adjust their irrigation strategy.

Both the security and certainty of water for food production is a key concern along with the regulation of pre-approved trading within water catchments.

There may be some variations between Defra and the Welsh Government’s proposals which should be taken into consideration, once further information has been released.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

Apply Now For Glastir Small Grants

iStock_44933184_XXLARGE.jpgFarmers and landowners in Wales are can now apply for grants of up to £5,000 towards capital expenditure aimed at reducing carbon emissions, easing flood risks and other means of expanding Wales’ biodiversity.

The Welsh Government have ear-marked £1.5million under the Glastir small grants scheme to help those in the farming industry who want to help tackle problems relating to climate change and water management.

The first applications are invited between 27 June and 29 July 2016 and will be focussed on carbon saving by supporting related projects such as tree or woodland planting or hedgerow maintenance.

If you have a project in mind which might be covered by the above criteria, you will need firstly to complete an expression of interest on-line by visiting Rural Payments Wales.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

Joint Venture Opportunites

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The Welsh Government has set up a Venture Initiative to help match landowners and retiring farmers with enthusiastic new farmers looking for a way into the industry.

Find out more by following this link to Business Wales.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

CAP Reform in Wales

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The Welsh Government has published its decisions on CAP Reform today. The report is available here (The Common Agricultural Policy Reform) but the key decisions are:

  • The minimum claim size will be 5ha
  • There will be 3 regions and indicative payment rates:
    • Moorland (land over 400m) around €20/ha
    • SDA around €200/ha
    • DA and Lowland around €240/ha
  • The transition period will be 5 years
  • Claims over €150,000 will be capped
  • There will be a 15% transfer from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2
  • There will be no form of coupled support.

The Welsh Government will release more information in the spring and will write to SPS claimants in July 2014 about their eligibility for the new BPS claim entitlement in 2015.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.