NSA excluded from Welsh SFS Roundtable

The National Sheep Association has said that, “the failure of the Welsh Government to acknowledge a request from the National Sheep Association (NSA) to join its new Sustainable Farming Scheme Roundtable is both disappointing and further risks the future of the sheep sector in Wales.

This criticism follows several requests being made by the sheep farming charity to join the industry Roundtable set to discuss future SFS offerings in Wales.

NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker said, “It is extremely disappointing that the Welsh Government has chosen to exclude NSA, the only organisation that solely represents the largest agricultural sector (sheep farming) in Wales, from its Roundtable discussions.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson responded, saying that, “Through the SFS roundtable and officials groups, we intend to work at pace to identify areas of agreement and place the emphasis on matters where more work is required. We have had to limit the size of the roundtable to ensure it is manageable, while representing all interests.”

The spokesperson noted that Welsh Government believes the Roundtable has “excellent representation of the farming industry, farmers, supply chain, veterinary, nature, forestry, and food sectors.” These include HCC, NFU Cyrmu, FUW, CLA, Independent Farmer and Nature Friendly Farming Network. They said, “The National Sheep Association are important members of the SFS Officials’ Group and their views are valued. The Officials Group is fully engaged with the scheme design process.”

The NSA said that it is in a unique position having been involved in policy and future farming scheme development across the UK and to date has done its best to support Welsh Government in its work.

Stocker continued, “I am highly concerned that the level of our engagement since the new Farming Minister came into post has been zero, and I am not at all confident that Welsh Government is making use of farmers experiences from scheme development in other nations. There is still no facilitation for tenants, new entrants, share and contract farming agreements, commons, cross border farms or graziers.

“NSA welcomes conversations, pilots, and development of the SFS in Wales given the problems the proposals have created, and although there are fundamental elements that risk the entire thing being unworkable NSA does believe there are some valuable aspects to the current scheme proposals.”


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