RBST has responded to the Welsh Government’s Consultation on the Sustainable Farming Scheme, the new farming policy for Wales.

On balance RBST believes the Welsh proposals are among the best for native breeds. There is a particularly clear recognition of the economic, environmental and cultural benefits they provide, and the right mix of measures including funding, support and advice to encourage their conservation and promotion.

CEO Christopher Price says: “We are pleased that the Welsh Government appears to have taken on board so much of what 
RBST has been saying.

“Nevertheless, there are still some major gaps in the proposals. We do not know the payment rates, which is the  responsibility of Westminster rather than Welsh Government, and the mechanisms for supporting the breeds on both commons and protected sites, such as SSSIs, both of which are important areas for many native breeds, need to be decided. 

The need for Welsh farming to reduce its greenhouse gas footprint is of course essential. The different UK governments have proposed different approaches, and the Welsh Government’s focus on habitat management as the way forward is, in RBST’s view, preferable to direct reductions in livestock numbers or the impositions of early slaughter rules being considered elsewhere.

Naturally, we recognise the requirements for farmers to dedicate 10% of their land to forestry and a further 10% to wildlife habitats are clearly controversial and it is important that Welsh Government takes as generous a view on these as possible, taking account of all the tree cover and habitat currently in existence.”

To read the full response, visit the Consultation and Inquiry Responses section of the RBST website: RBST Documents | Rare Breeds Survival Trust

Photograph - Balwen Ewe by Lowri Martin