Welsh farmers have delivered positive environmental public outcomes for centuries.

The FUW has long maintained that farmers must be fairly rewarded for what they have already delivered, what they continue to deliver and what they will deliver in the future, writes Bryn Francis.

Currently Wales’s food producers adhere to a plethora of costly regulations when it comes to environmental, food and animal health standards and we agree with these.

However, future plans which place Welsh producers at a disadvantage, or which are met at the expense of food production, will inevitably offset the efforts made by the agricultural sector towards mitigating climate change by importing more food for example.

We should also remember that those who receive the Basic Payment are subject to Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAEC) regulations.

These regulations are aimed at preserving landscape features, establishing buffer strips and other environmental issues relating to groundwater and soil management.

As acknowledged in Natural Resources Wales’ State of Natural Resources Report, using land for food production is an essential part of natural resource use and while agricultural intensification has undeniably had negative impacts on some species and ecosystems, there is overwhelming evidence that other factors, including reductions in agricultural activityhave also had severe impacts.

As such, a future agricultural support scheme focussed solely on Public Goods and environmental outcomes risks exacerbating species and biodiversity declines.

Such an approach also risks a reversal of the work undertaken to tackle climate change and improve the environment whilst also undermining the importance of food production and Wales’ rural communities.