The Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 is a seven year European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) programme funded by the European Union and Welsh Government. It aims to improve resilience and promote transformational change in agriculture, forestry and rural communities. It will support a wide range of activities which:
- improve competitiveness in the agriculture and forestry sector
- safeguard and enhance the rural environment
- foster competitive and sustainable rural businesses and thriving rural communities.
The Farming Connect programme supports the development of a more professional, profitable and resilient land based sector. It comprises an integrated programme of knowledge transfer, innovation and advisory services designed to deliver greater sustainability, improved competitiveness, and improved environmental performance.
It is integrated with other Welsh Government business support packages and activities including Business Wales and Resource Efficient Wales. It also forms the main mechanism and structure for delivering a coordinated and integrated package of knowledge transfer, innovation and advisory services targeting the farming and forestry businesses.
The programme enhances links with innovative University research and development combined with Further Education gained from the Agricultural Colleges; industry priorities led by Levy Bodies and expert knowledge to help ensure that farmers and foresters in Wales are able to see and apply the latest innovations and best practice.
The priority areas of Climate Change, Biodiversity, Forestry, Red Meat, Dairy, Grassland, Arable, Horticulture, Organic Production, Pigs and Poultry are focus areas of the programme. Cross cutting policy themes of Tackling Poverty, Future Generations, The Natural Environment, Climate Change, Animal Health and Welfare, Plant Health, New Entrants and Women and Health and Safety are also integrated into every element of programme delivery.