Farmers throughout Wales are being urged to tap into the support mechanisms which could help boost both their economic and environmental performance by attending one of Farming Connect’s ‘Sustainable Farming Roadshow’ events next month.
Arranged at locations across Wales from the first week of September onwards, each of the evening events will help farmers understand how to manage their land and resources effectively and know what support is available to help them achieve optimum results, while also minimising the risk of agricultural pollution and improving water, soil and air quality.
Chaired by Dr Prysor Williams, senior lecturer in environmental management at Bangor University or Carmarthenshire-born chartered surveyor and Nuffield scholar Aled Jones, each event will include presentations from both environmental specialists and Welsh farmers who have made positive changes to slurry storage and management after accessing confidential, independent guidance and support through Farming Connect.
Eirwen Williams, director of rural programmes with Menter a Busnes, which delivers Farming Connect on behalf of the Welsh Government, urged farmers throughout Wales to attend.
“Attending a Sustainable Farming Roadshow event will ensure you know what is required of your business and you will hear first hand how the advice and support available has enabled a number of farmers in Wales to manage water, soil and air quality more efficiently while also complying with the current regulations and saving money,” said Mrs Williams.
The Farming Connect Advisory Service can provide eligible businesses with 80% funding for independent, confidential and bespoke advice on soil and nutrient management planning, slurry and farmyard manure management and storage and farm infrastructure. The service is fully funded for group applications of three or more.
Additional fully funded Farming Connect services which help farmers minimise the risks of agricultural pollution are available, which include a one-to-one consultation at a planning surgery to ensure you are well informed and prepared before approaching a local planning authority; one-to-one mentoring from an approved farmer who has addressed and found ways of tackling similar challenges and EIP Wales, which offers financial support to group applications for innovative ideas on tackling agricultural pollution.
“Farming Connect offers a huge range of practical support and advisory services, and this round of Sustainable Farming events provides the perfect opportunity to ensure farmers are aware of what is available to them,” said Mrs Williams.
Keith Owen, senior buildings and environmental consultant with ADAS will be one of the keynote speakers at each event.
“Small, often fairly low-cost improvements can result in major economic and environmental benefits, so it’s essential that farmers throughout Wales are aware of the risks of water pollution which, if not addressed, will damage their land and inevitably lead to a reduction in profit levels,” said Mr Owen.
Also high on the agenda will be the promotion of the latest application window of the Welsh Government’s £6million Sustainable Production Grant (SPG) scheme, which will open on 3 September and close 26 October. The latest window will focus on the efficient use of resources to reduce the number of pollution incidents we are encountering in Wales.
The scheme will provide a grant of between £12,000 and £50,000 for eligible farmers registered with Farming Connect. The funding can be used towards items including covered slurry storage and management equipment, along with a range of other items which will support farmers to become more economically and environmentally sustainable.
All applications for the grant will need to be made through Rural Payments Wales’ (RPW) online service, which is the Welsh Government’s online portal for farm businesses. Detailed information on the scheme, eligibility criteria and the application process will be available on the Welsh Government website shortly. Any individual applying for the grant must be registered as a business partner with both Farming Connect and Rural Payments Wales and they must also have attended one of Farming Connect’s Sustainable Farming events.
“Attending one of the Sustainable Farming events will entitle you to apply for the SPG, however, we would advise you to access the confidential and impartial guidance Farming Connect can provide to ensure you make best use of the investment,” said Mrs Williams.