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NSA frustrated by Welsh Government's failure to acknowledge its role as critical contributors to Sustainable Farming Scheme Roundtable

19th June 2024

The failure of the Welsh Government to acknowledge a request from the National Sheep Association (NSA) to join its new Farming Roundtable is both disappointing and further risks the future of the sheep sector in Wales.

This criticism from NSA follows several requests being made by the sheep farming charity to join the industry Roundtable set to discuss future Sustainable Farming Scheme offerings in Wales.

NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker says: “It is extremely disappointing that the Welsh Government has chosen to exclude NSA, the only organisation that solely represents the largest agricultural sector (sheep farming) in Wales, from its Roundtable discussions.

“Collectively the sheep and beef sector in Wales supports more than 223,000 jobs and Wales’ biggest employer – the food and drink supply chain – that is worth over £6 billion to the Welsh economy. Not only this, but the sheep sector is by far the most accessible route into agriculture for new entrants and the next generation and it is an almost entirely land based sector with a direct relationship with the landscape and the environment. The refusal from Welsh Government to engage with NSA, that has such a thorough understanding and appreciation of this, indicates a severe lack of appetite to future proof the predominant livestock sector within the Welsh agricultural industry.”

NSA is in a unique position having been involved in policy and future farming scheme development across the UK and to date has done its best to support Welsh Government in its work.

Mr Stocker continues: “I am highly concerned that the level of our engagement since the new Farming Minister came into post has been zero, and I am not at all confident that Welsh Government is making use of farmers experiences from scheme development in other nations. There is still no facilitation for tenants, new entrants, share and contract farming agreements, commons, cross border farms or graziers.

“NSA welcomes conversations, pilots, and development of the SFS in Wales given the problems the proposals have created, and although there are fundamental elements that risk the entire thing being unworkable NSA does believe there are some valuable aspects to the current scheme proposals.”

Following several requests to officials being met with no response, NSA will continue to raise the concerns of the industry and will also continue to offer ideas and solutions even if these have to be via unofficial channels. 

Mr Stocker concludes: “Given the importance of sheep farming in Wales I will still say its not too late and would welcome engagement from Welsh Government, which sadly so far has been lacking.”

Notes for editors

  • For more information and high resolution images please contact Katie James, NSA Communications Manager, via, or 07748 151235.
  • The National Sheep Association is an organisation that represents the views and interests of sheep producers throughout the UK. It is funded by its membership of sheep farmers and its activities involve it in every aspect of the sheep industry. More at and