Powys’ BBC wildlife presenter Iolo Williams has put his backing behind the controversial Sustainable Farming Scheme.

The well-known wildlife presenter has said it is “crucial” for the public to support “farmers who farm in a nature-friendly way” and has leant his support to the Welsh Government’s controversial new agricultural plans.

The plans would see 10 per cent of land on farms put aside to plant woodland with a further 10 per cent used for natural habitats.

“It’s crucial that people make their voices heard and show their support for farmers who farm in a nature-friendly way,” said Mr Williams.

“We know many farmers are restoring nature on their farms, protecting rivers from farm pollution and producing food more sustainably by decreasing the use of pesticides and fertilisers.

“This is the type of farming that so many of us want to see across Wales. That is why I urge everyone to respond to this final consultation from the Welsh Government on the Sustainable Farming Scheme.

“It is vital to let the Welsh Government know that so many of us agree with the farming changes proposed within the scheme, which will bring back nature and take action on climate change.”


Farmers across the country have voiced their anger at the plans saying it would put to high a burden on Welsh farming - which has been hit especially hard in recent years by the high rates of inflation.  

However Mr Williams has said that these proposals must be given significant financial backing from the Welsh government

“To be truly effective, the proposed scheme must be properly funded and supported,” added Mr Williams. “The optional and collaborative tiers of the Sustainable Farming Scheme, which contain most of the nature-friendly actions, should be launched no later than April 2026, with Welsh Government allocating at least 50 per cent of the budget to those tiers.

“Without sufficient and long-term funding, farmers are quite rightly concerned about their future livelihoods. As 90 per cent of Wales is farmland, managing this land to store carbon and to hold back flood waters in restored habitats is needed to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

“The scheme design will enable this, but the Welsh Government must invest in the future of sustainable farming by making payments attractive to farmers.”

Mr Williams’ comments come as Wildlife Trusts Wales and WWF Cymru also backed the scheme.

Get in touch

Share your views on this story by sending a letter to the editor. To get in touch email news@countytimes.co.uk, or fill in the form on this section of our website.

They said in a joint statement: “Without healthy soils, clean water, and pollinators, the resources needed to produce food would rapidly disappear and Wales risks losing the vital role of agriculture in sustaining its rural economy and communities.

“If delivered well, the new scheme will support farmers to adapt to the changing climate, for example, by including incentives to plant trees to form shelter for livestock, switch to herb-rich grasses less prone to drought and store water in ponds on farms.

“All of these measures will also help nature’s recovery in Wales, which is much needed with the recent Welsh State of Nature report revealing alarming declines in wildlife, with one in six species at risk of extinction.”