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Welsh Conservatives’ plan to ultivate a sustainable future for rural Wales

ON the first day of the Royal Welsh Show in Llanelwedd, the Welsh Conservatives are launching their ambitious plans for sustainable farming in rural Wales.

Following the passing of the long-awaited Agriculture (Wales) Bill, the Welsh Government must now act quickly to catch-up for their delay in bringing the legislation forward. The Welsh Conservative plan includes proposals for how the Sustainable Farming Scheme should be run, changes to the planning system to support bringing disused farm buildings back into residential use and ending the heartache Bovine TB causes Welsh farmers once and for all.

Commenting on the launch of the Welsh Conservative’s rural stimulus plans, Welsh Conservative Shadow Rural Affairs Minister, Samuel Kurtz MS said: “I’m delighted to launch the Welsh Conservatives plans which will help stimulate Wales’ rural economy, which includes proposals ‘for farmers, by farmers’, ending decades of being ignored by Labour Governments in Wales.

“This ambitious package of initiatives aims to revitalise the rural economy and give communities more freedom, support and reassurance that their industry is a priority that needs to be protected.

“Our plan has exciting proposals that are designed for all farmers, with a commitment to a smooth transition to the new support scheme replacing CAP, irrespective of land tenure, targeted at and supporting the active farmer. Fundamentally is that tenant farmers would be able to participate in the scheme on an equal footing to owner-occupiers.

“We also want to see new life for old farm buildings. We need to review the planning roadblocks that currently prevent the repurposing of unused buildings in rural areas. We would offer support for farmers to repurpose redundant buildings to fill the gap in rural housing.

“Finally, it is shocking that the Welsh Government is happy to see farmers livelihoods destroyed, their mental health severely impacted and at immense cost to the taxpayer by not getting to grips with Bovine TB across Wales.

“Nothing should be off the table to stamp out Bovine TB. So, we should be using every tool in the toolbox to eradicate this disease, from cattle vaccinations and improved testing regimes to removing infected wildlife.

A Welsh Sustainable Farming Scheme for farmers, by farmers

  • Designed for all farmers irrespective of land tenure, enabling tenant farmers to participate on an equal footing.
  • An annual offer for long-term planning focused on active farmers and a smooth transition maintaining the level of CAP payments for farm businesses.
  • Promoting and incentivising innovation and development for productivity improvements through capital grants – with greater interventions for young farmers.
  • Focus on food production in a non-exploitative manner, encouraging precision farmer techniques and technological advancements.
  • Being guardians of the land for the future, starting by assessing the current extent of carbon capture in Wales.

New life for redundant farm buildings

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  • Exploring planning reform to open-up options for farmers to diversify existing buildings on their land.
  • Bringing new life to derelict and old buildings making it easier to transform them into new options for farmers such as holiday homes and new homes for sale.

Eradicating Bovine TB

  • All the tools at the Welsh Government’s disposal must be used to eradicate Bovine TB in Wales.
  • Including looking at options ruled out by the Welsh Government.