A new £22.9m Farming Connect programme will be available for farmers in Wales over the next two years to support them as they prepare to move to the new Sustainable Farming Scheme, Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths announced today (February 23).
Farming Connect offers business support, improves resilience, provides access to the latest innovations and helps develop farm businesses. It plays a key role in helping farms reach net zero carbon emissions through advice and support.
Since its launch in 2015 the current Farming Connect programme has supported over 26,500 individuals, including 12,615 businesses.
The new programme will run for two years until March 2025 and will focus on preparing farmers to transition to the new Sustainable Farming Scheme.
The over-arching themes for the new programme will be sustainability, improved environmental performance and greater global competitiveness.
The Minister made the announcement on a farm which has benefited from Farming Connect. Will and Sarah Evans at Lower Eyton Farm, Wrexham have diversified their farm business with support from Farming Connect and now supply fresh, organically grown, and seasonal vegetable boxes straight to a customer’s home. Watery Lane Produce includes products from local suppliers and the farm.
The Minister said: “The new Farming Connect programme I am announcing today will support farmers in Wales at a key time. The new Sustainable Farming Scheme will begin in 2025, and Farming Connect will provide the support farmers need to prepare for the new scheme.
“Farming Connect is valued by the industry and I know its services will be crucial in the next two years as we prepare the way for the SFS. It will provide advice on how farming businesses can adapt and remain competitive.
Sarah Evans from Lower Eyton Farm said: “We have been very fortunate of the support we have received from Farming Connect so far. It all started with a digital workshop before moving onto becoming a member of an Agrisgôp group. I have now found a job I feel passionate about, I’m doing my bit for the environment and climate change, and I’m also educating my four children on all these important issues.”