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Historic Wales Agriculture Act comes into force

The first made-in-Wales Agriculture Act is now law, having received Royal Assent this week.

The Agriculture (Wales) Act is key in supporting farmers and sustainable food production for generations to come.

The main source of future Government support for farmers in Wales underpinned by the Act will come through the proposed Sustainable Farming Scheme. This Act provides Welsh Ministers with the powers necessary to provide support in the future whilst also ensuring continued support for farmers during a transition period, reflecting the Cooperation Agreement commitment with Plaid Cymru

It also paves the way for the banning of snares and glue traps, with Wales becoming the first UK nation to introduce a complete ban.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “This is a historic Act.  The first time ever Wales has been able to design its own policy for farming.  It comes at a crucial time for the industry, as we shape future support and face the challenges of higher costs and the climate emergency.

“The Act allows us to focus on the economic, environmental, and social sustainability of the Welsh agricultural sector.  We know the main threat to sustainable food production in the future is climate change, this Act gives us the tools to support the industry to continue to produce food sustainably while taking action to deal with the climate emergency.”

Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said: “I’m very pleased to see the sealing of the Wales’s first Agriculture Act today.  This is truly a historic day for Welsh farmers and rural communities.

“We are now moving ahead with delivering a system of support for farmers designed in Wales, and which works for Wales.  This includes the Sustainable Farming Scheme which will be the main source of support for farmers from 2025.

“There isn’t a choice between sustainable food production on our farms and tackling climate change.  Both must go hand in hand as the climate emergency is a real threat to agriculture and production of food.  The Agriculture Act takes this into account, ensuring sustainable land management is at the heart of future support safeguarding the industry.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in this historic Act.”

The Act provides tenant farmers with a route to dispute resolution to ensure they are not unfairly restricted from accessing financial assistance.

It also alters the Forestry Act 1967 to give Natural Resources Wales the power to add conditions to amend, suspend or revoke felling licenses to prevent felling that would contradict other environmental legislation.

It also replaces time limited powers in the Agriculture Act 2020 which are due to expire in December 2024.