The Welsh government has announced plans for a new £40 million scheme designed to help farmers reduce their carbon emissions.
Proposals for the small capital grants scheme have been unveiled by cabinet secretary for environment and rural affairs, Lesley Griffiths, who announced the scheme as part of the of the Welsh Government’s 2017-18 final Budget.
The scheme will distribute financial support of up to £12,000 at a 40% grant rate over a four-year period. Farmers across Wales will be able to invest in around 80 items that have yet to be finalised but will include energy efficiency and other carbon reduction measures.
The Welsh Government has worked with farming unions and other partners to develop a list of capital items with standardised specifications and costs. The proposed items are said to offer applicants ‘the opportunity to achieve a step-change in their business performance’.
Griffiths said: “I am delighted we are able to announce this £40m package of support to help farmers transform their businesses. This was a key commitment in our Programme for Government: Taking Wales Forward and we are delivering on our promise.
“We see this money very much as an investment in our farmers which will benefit Wales as a whole. It will enable our farmers to operate in a more efficient and environmentally-friendly way and make their businesses more competitive.
Government funding is being funnelled into Wales’ agricultural sector in an effort to address the uncertainties sparked off by the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. The nation receives hundreds of millions of pounds a year in EU farming subsidies through the Common Agricultural Policy as well as the Rural Development Programme which is co-financing the new grants scheme.
Griffiths continued: “This is undoubtedly a boost for Welsh farming at a time when there is a lot of uncertainty about what the future holds following the UK’s decision to leave the EU. The new support I am announcing today will be of considerable assistance as our farmers begin to consider how best to shape their businesses to thrive in a post-Brexit world.
A vote on the final Budget will be held in the National Assembly on January 10 which if approved will likely see the first application window open from April 2017.