The Welsh Liberal Democrat manifesto pledged to provide more small-scale grants to farmers.
The intention was to enable them to diversify, help them to reduce their carbon emissions, and allow them to improve their resilience and competitiveness. Welsh Liberal Democrats recognise the importance of these schemes to protect farmers from market volatility and to reward high standards of environmental practice.
The Progressive Agreement made a commitment that “Welsh agriculture is supported by introducing a small grants scheme in the rural development plan.”
From April 2017 farmers have been able to apply for financial support up to £12,000 at a 40% grant rate over a four-year period.
Farmers in Wales can invest in around 80 items, linked to: stock handling equipment; animal health; genetics and performance; crop management; energy efficiency; and IT.
The Welsh Government is investing an extra £20million in the scheme, which is co-financed by the Rural Development Programme, making the small grants scheme worth £40million in total.
Cllr William Powell, Welsh Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Farming, the Environment and Rural Affairs, said:
“This small grant scheme is a real boost for Welsh farmers and I am proud the Welsh Liberal Democrats have been able to deliver it in Government, at a time when it is needed the most.
“Leaving the European Union could pose an existential threat for Welsh farmers. The Conservative UK Government has been woefully inadequate in committing to the future funding of agriculture, and pursuing free trade deals with some of Welsh farmers’ biggest competitors like New Zealand shows they are not prioritising the future of Welsh farming.
“The Welsh Liberal Democrats will continue to fly the flag for farming in Wales.”