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Farming

Unions welcome Griffiths’ Winter Fair speech

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Collaborative working can deliver great things: Glyn Roberts

ON THE OPENING day of the Royal Welsh Winter Fair, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, called on the agriculture industry to focus on turning the challenges of Brexit into opportunities.

In a keynote speech at the Hybu Cig Cymru breakfast, the Cabinet Secretary spoke about a number of important initiatives the Welsh Government has in place to provide valuable support to farmers, many of which are particularly relevant as the UK leaves the EU and farm businesses prepare for the major change that lies ahead.

A new land capability mapping system for Wales has been launched by the Cabinet Secretary at this year’s Winter Fair – the first major update since the original maps were produced in the early 1970’s. The Predictive Agricultural Land Classification (ALC) Map allows land users, planners and Government to make informed choices about how agricultural land is used in Wales.

The Cabinet Secretary also announced that over 91% of farmers’ Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) 2017 claims will be paid on Friday, December 1. Over £201m will be paid into the bank accounts of 14,111 Welsh farm businesses on the first day on which payments may be made under European rules.

Speaking ahead of the Winter Fair Lesley Griffiths said: “Brexit will bring significant and lasting change, of that there is absolutely no doubt. A ‘no deal’ scenario presents particularly acute risks for those sectors particularly reliant on exports to the EU, including lamb.

“Leaving the Common Agricultural Policy and new, yet to be established, trading arrangements mean that maintaining the status quo is simply not an option.Turning challenges into opportunities is where the industry and individual farm businesses need to be focusing their attention.

“For our part, we are already heavily involved working alongside our key partners in seeking to address our agriculture sectors’ readiness for Brexit.

“Brexit will provide a once in a generation opportunity to redesign our policy framework in a way that is uniquely Welsh, that reflects Welsh needs and strengths.

“We all have a role to play shaping how the industry will look after Brexit and we need farmers to be bold, imaginative; open to new ideas and practices.

“With this new approach in mind, I’m pleased to today launch a new Predictive Agricultural Land Classification Map for Wales. It identifies the potential versatility of land to support a range of cropping choices and allows land users, planners and Government to make informed choices on how land is used.

“My priority is to ensure our agricultural industry is in the best possible position to deal with the change ahead. As a government we are committed to providing solutions which work for Wales and we will continue to work with the industry, our partners and others to make the most of every opportunity.”

On the record payment of Basic Payment Scheme claims, the Cabinet Secretary added: “I am delighted to announce that over 91% of farmers receiving their BPS payments on the first day. This is yet another example of the success of our uniquely Welsh approach and our exemplary record on payments. It is a tribute to the way Welsh farmers have embraced new technology, RPW Online and made the new system such a success.”

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed the announcement by Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths that over 91% of Basic Payments will be made on the first day of the payment window.

Speaking at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “The Welsh Government has hit a high payment target and we are grateful to all the staff who have worked hard to ensure money can be released on the first day of the payment window. However, there are still 9% of farms who will not receive their payment and we hope that rapid progress can be made in processing these.

“Most of the money arriving in the farm account through the BPS will be going straight out to secondary and tertiary businesses. Hundreds of businesses are solely reliant on Welsh agriculture. Look at all the traders and businesses exhibiting at the Fair today. Any delay in the payment of the Basic Payment would have a direct impact on these businesses and their employees.

“We have been working closely with Welsh Government to achieve this result for our farmers here in Wales and are looking forward to continue in our close working relationship in the future. The co-operation between all industry stakeholders and Welsh Government illustrates that we can achieve great things for Welsh farming if we work collaboratively.”

Stephen James, NFU Cymru President said: “The announcement that over 91% of claims will be paid on the first day of the payment window, together with an improved exchange rate, up 4.98% on the 2016 rate, is good news and will be a boost not just to farm businesses but also to the thousands of rural businesses that rely heavily on farmers for much of their income.

“For every £1 invested in farm support in the UK, farming delivers around £7.40 back to the economy.”

Farming

Access to EU Single Market and Customs Union critical for rural Wales

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Brian Thomas: ​​FUW Deputy President

N​EWS that Northern Ireland could be granted access to the European Single Market and Customs Union shows that it is possible to achieve what the Farmers’ Union of Wales has been calling for since the EU referendum.

Speaking from his farm in Pembrokeshire, ​​FUW Deputy President Brian Thomas said: “Different parts of the UK can’t be treated differently and we therefore call on the UK government to ensure that Wales, given its heavy reliance on red meat exports to the EU, is given the same treatment. Should this deal be offered and come to fruition we fully expect to have the same offered to us.

“In the farming community there is a real sense of worry, alarm and anger about the state of Brexit negotiations, and how the current state of play compares to what was promised by many before the referendum.

“And whilst we recognise that the Irish border situation presents some unique challenges that need to be overcome, rural Wales has challenges of its own, such the economic challenges we have long highlighted. We need to recognise the impact that failure to secure such access and reach agreement for Wales could have. Denying Wales access to the Single Market and Customs Union would have catastrophic consequences, as recently highlighted in scenarios from the FAPRI and Horizon reports.”

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Farming

Farmers from Wales and Oz join forces to showcase ‘lightning lamb’

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Jamie Heinrich and Richard Roderick: At the HCC lightning lamb cookoff

A ‘LIGHTNING LAMB’ cooking challenge featuring award-winning sheep farmers from both sides of the globe was one of the highlights of the recent Royal Welsh Winter Fair in Builth Wells.

Surveys show that families in Britain have only 32 minutes on average to prepare an evening meal nowadays, as opposed to an hour in 1980. Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) is taking steps to emphasise lamb’s quick-cook credentials, so enlisted the help of Australian farmer Jamie Heinrich and Breconshire’s own Richard Roderick in a ‘cookoff’ to prove it!

Jamie Heinrich hails from Kangaroo Island near Adelaide in South Australia, and operates a 2000-acre holding farming Poll Merino and White Suffolk sheep. His visit to Wales is part of a Nuffield Australia scholarship to study how to encourage young entrants to the industry.

Richard Roderick lives at Newton Farm near Talybont-on-Usk in the Brecon Beacons. He is a past HCC Scholar, and has won several farming accolades including the Silver Lapwing Award in 2016 for his environmental management. Earlier this year he featured on the BBC series ‘Nadiya’s British Food Adventure’.

With the help of HCC cook Elwen Roberts, Jamie rustled up a rapid Welsh Lamb stir-fry with oriental flavours, while Richard’s creation was a pan-fried leg steak with red wine sauce. After tasting and judging by members of the audience, the two delicious dishes could not be separated, so the Wales vs Australia match ended in an honourable draw.

“When I came over to Wales I certainly didn’t anticipate getting involved in a cookoff to promote lamb!” said Nuffield Australia Scholar Jamie Heinrich. “Many of the challenges for the industry – recruiting younger farmers and making sure that lamb is appealing to young consumers who are pushed for time – are the same the world over. I’m very much looking forward to the rest of my trip to Wales and Europe.”

HCC’s Elwen Roberts commented: “It was great fun to challenge two farmers to come up with a quick and tasty lamb recipe. They both did extremely well, and the Winter Fair audience loved seeing and tasting the food.”

“It’s important to emphasise that lamb can be an excellent choice for a quick evening meal,” she added. “HCC has recently launched a mobile-phone-friendly recipe selector on the eatwelshlamb.com website, to help give consumers inspiration for lamb dishes while on the move.”

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Farming

Food Centre Wales at the Farm Business Innovation show

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Arwyn Davies, Business Development Manager: With Angela Sawyer, Senior Food Technologist, Food Centre Wales

THE FOOD CENTRE WALES team were at the Farm Business Innovation show 2017 offering advice and support to businesses in the food and drinks industry.

The event held on November​ 8-9​ in Birmingham highlighted the continued interest in adding value to farm produce, particularly in Wales.

Arwyn Davies, Business Development Manager at Food Centre Wales, said​:​ “As this was the first time we had exhibited at the Farm Business Innovation show. We went in with an open mind, but we are pleased to report that it was a very successful two days. We spoke to many farm owners during the two days, many of whom were from Wales.”

Arwyn Davies’ talk on ‘Farm Diversification into Food Processing – Exploring Opportunities & Avoiding Pitfalls’ was very popular with every seat taken.

Councillor Gareth Lloyd, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Economic and Community Development said​:​ “The Team at Food Centre Wales were interested to hear all the ideas and plans people had for diversifying their farm businesses. The Centre’s food technologists were on hand to offer advice on how farmers could add value to their food produce and what could be done do to help them along the process. If you didn’t get a change to call in at the stand, the Team are more than happy to help at the Centre.”

Food Centre Wales will be following up with inquiries received at the show, with the aim to help many develop their food products and reach new markets.
If you would like to know more about how Food Centre Wales can help you, get in touch by phone 01559 362230 or email gen@foodcentrewales.org.uk.

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