More than £66million is being made available by the Welsh Government in payments to farmers as it targets continuing to deliver 'positive environmental outcomes' for Wales.
The move by Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths extends the Glastir Advanced, Commons and Organic funding contracts until December 2023.
The minister also says it is the intention for the Basic Payment Scheme to continue until 2023, subject to the UK Government’s comprehensive spending review. 
The BPS pledge brought a particular welcome from farmers' unions and representatives.
The BPS is the biggest of the rural grants and payments that provide help to the farming industry and is crucial to the survival of many of Wales' marginal hill farms.
In respect of the other environmental schemes, over 1.3m hectares of Welsh agricultural land come under a Glastir contract and the governement says continuation of the scheme ensures priority sites and areas in Wales are managed effectively to achieve positive environmental outcomes.

This includes conserving and enhancing wildlife and biodiversity, improving soil and water resources, restoring peatland habitats and contributing to the decarbonisation of Welsh agriculture.

All existing eligible contract holders will be offered an extension via their RPW on-line accounts.

The minister also announced a further £7m to extend the Farming Connect programme through to March 2023.

Farming Connect has been key in providing important business support to thousands of farmers and foresters across Wales.

This has included identifying areas for improvement, developing skills and helping find more efficient and innovative ways of working.

Ms Griffiths said: “I am very pleased to make £66.79m available through Glastir Advanced, Commons and Organic contracts until December 2023.

“The programme is crucial in supporting our farmers and this extension will help us further enhance our understanding of the impact of Glastir actions and interventions and contribute to the development of the future Sustainable Farming Scheme.

“I am also pleased a further £7m funding will see Farming Connect through to March 2023.

“This will ensure support for a more professional, profitable and resilient land based sector, as we deal with multiple challenges and opportunities, including reducing all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 and the ever-changing trading environment for the industry.”

Ms Griffiths has also outlined the next steps to introduce a new system of farm support which will reward farmers who take action to respond to the climate emergency and reverse the decline of biodiversity.

The new Sustainable Farming Scheme will maximise the protective power of nature through farming and will be key in protecting the environment for this generation and those to come.

The Welsh Government has already engaged with more than 2,000 farmers and stakeholders in the first phase of co-designing the new scheme and the next phase of co-design will take place in the summer of 2022.

The minister has revealed an outline of the Sustainable Farming Scheme will be published next year and this will include the actions which farmers are asked to undertake. Analysis of the estimated cost to the farm business and wider sector of undertaking them and the resulting environmental benefits will be also be published to enable farmers to provide informed feedback.

A final consultation on the detail of scheme design, and transition to the new scheme, will take place in spring 2023.

Engagement with farmers through an outreach programme on the final Scheme will take place the following year.

The scheme is set to open in January 2025.

NFU Cymru welcomed the announcement of the intention to continue with the BPS until 2023, subject to receiving funding under the UK Government’s comprehensive spending review.

NFU Cymru president John Davies said: “I very much welcome this statement from the minister; in a period of great uncertainty, it is excellent news that our minister has used two key interventions to provide stability and continuity to Welsh farming at a time of significant upheaval.

“We now look to the UK Government, through the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review, to provide the funding commitments required to ensure that our minister can implement her policy intention to maintain the BPS at current funding levels for the next two years."

He added: “I am pleased that by setting out her intention to maintain both the BPS and Glastir Contract agreements for the next two years, the minister has given Welsh Government and policy makers the breathing space to bring forward a new Agriculture Bill for Wales, and time to properly assess and model future support policies for Wales. It is absolutely vital that we get this right, as the bill and the policies that are subsequently developed will define Welsh agriculture for a generation to come.”

The Farmers’ Union of Wales also welcomed the announcement.

FUW president Glyn Roberts said: “This is very welcome news for the farming industry. With so much uncertainty around at the moment, this offers some stability for the next two years. A reassurance the industry very much needs, particularly as trade deals with large global agri-exporters are made by the UK Government.

“The Glastir Advanced scheme extension is also most welcome as contract holders were in the difficult position of not knowing whether they would have any funding from next year onwards.”

The FUW recently wrote to Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart to remind him that it was disingenuous for the UK Treasury to have included unspent EU funding from the 2014-2020 Common Agricultural Policy funding period in its calculation for the 2021-2022 Welsh agricultural budget – a methodology that led to an allocation which was £95million less than had been anticipated.