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In line with the Commissioner's role as an independent advocate for Welsh speakers, we offer the following comments regarding the Welsh Government's Sustainable Farming Scheme (the scheme).

The agricultural industry is a vital part of the economy and culture of rural Welsh communities, where Welsh is an everyday natural language. Ensuring the prosperity of the rural and agricultural economy is therefore vital for ensuring the prosperity of the Welsh language. We are concerned that introducing the Scheme in its current guise would be detrimental to the vitality of the Welsh language in rural areas and would undermine the Welsh Government's (Government) Cymraeg 2050 strategy. Both the economic impact assessment of the Scheme and the Welsh language impact assessment give credence to these concerns. These assessments estimate that the Scheme will reduce the size of the rural economy, an impact that is bound to
have a negative effect on rural communities with a high density of Welsh speakers. It is concerning that neither the impact assessment nor the Scheme explains in detail how these negative consequences are to be avoided, nor how the Scheme can support the economic infrastructure of Welsh-speaking communities.

It is essential that the Scheme does not lead to the destabilisation of the industry and its workers, and therefore does not destabilise Welsh-speaking communities. Through the consultation and the public commitment to revisit the Scheme, we hope the Government will succeed in finding ways of strengthening the Scheme that meet our concerns.

In essence we believe that the Government must ensure that the Scheme meets all the objectives of the Agriculture (Wales) Act 2023 (Agriculture Act), and in particular, the objective of 'maintaining the Welsh language and promoting and facilitating its use'. The Welsh language impact assessment and the economic assessment suggest that the Scheme does not currently meet this objective.