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Farming

Evans appointed as new minister

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evans02THE SACKING of former natural resources and food minister, Alun Davies has come at a crucial time for Welsh agriculture. Amid concern about the Welsh Government’s handling of farm subsidies, falling stock prices, and the impact of new “greening” measures to be imposed on Welsh farmers, the Cardiff Bay government has, yet again, failed to appoint a full-time cabinet post to rural and farming affairs. The ministerial reshuffle following his sacking has seen Mr Davies’ portfolio split between two existing Cabinet members and the addition of Rebecca Evans AM to the ministerial team. Economy and Transport Minister Edwina Hart will look after agriculture, fisheries and food, Sport and Culture Minister John Griffiths has had environment added to his portfolio and Rebecca Evans is promoted from the backbenches to become deputy minister, for agriculture and fisheries. Ms Hart will attend the Royal Welsh Show at the end of July as part of her newly defined role. Mr Davies was sacked after trying to force civil servants to dig into the financial affairs of opposition politicians who spoke out against his farming policies. As Pembrokeshire County Council’s Deputy leader, Rob Lewis, knows: it is against the rules to use officers or council infrastructure to further party political ends. It has been suggested that one potential victim of his attempted smear campaign was Welsh Lib Dem leader Kirsty Williams, who is married to a farmer. Soon after the former minister emailed his officials demanding details of agricultural subsidy payments received by 5 opposition members, the official @Laboursenedd Twitter account began posting questions about subsidy payments made to Ms Williams’ husband. It is unlikely that the messages posted on the official Labour news feed were unconnected to Mr Davies’ attempted smear of those opposed to his policies. The FUW has said it is looking forward to working with the new Welsh Government ministers with responsibilities for agriculture, fisheries and food and will be seeking early talks with them. FUW president Emyr Jones said: “Obviously, we are disappointed that the portfolio has been split again, although we welcome the fact that farming gets a dedicated deputy minister for agriculture. We have worked with Rebecca Evans in her role on the Sustainability Committee and she represents a predominantly rural area. “As profitable farming and a sustainable environment are interlinked we also look forward to working with culture and sport minister John Griffiths who has received the environment policy brief. “We will now seek to meet the new deputy minister as soon as possible to ensure that work on the range of outstanding CAP issues does not lose momentum,” he added. Stephen James, NFU Cymru President, said, “Whilst NFU Cymru doesn’t expect to agree with Ministers on all matters it will come as no surprise that we have had a particularly difficult relationship with Alun Davies AM. “His decision, last December, to transfer 15% from Pillar 1 to Rural Development Plan Wales measures was particularly galling. News of his sacking comes however at a crucial time with the vitally important decision on how this money is now to be deployed. Therefore, the timing of this announcement is particularly critical. “It is now time to look forward and re-establish a good working relationship, once again, with the Ministers that represent our industry. We accept that there will be occasions when we will have differing views on policy matters, that has always been the case, but likewise, I’m sure there will be many occasions where we will agree on the way forward for our industry. Stephen James concluded, “It would be remiss of me to not also mention, while I have the opportunity, our concerns about the rural portfolio being split once again. This didn’t work efficiently or effectively following the 2011 election when there was a clear lack of integration of policy. Thankfully, the First Minister recognised this in March 2013 by putting everything back under the Natural Resources and Food portfolio. We are looking to see this position redressed, once again, as quickly as possible.”

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Farming

Government won’t be able to blame Brussels

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BREXIT could have British farmers reap the benefits of international trade thanks to a leading British product, National Farmers Union vice-president Stuart Roberts suggested.

Brexit could help British farmers take on a leading role on the world stage thanks to great dairy and meat products created in the country, according to Mr Roberts. Asked whether leaving the EU could benefit the farming industry, the National Farming Union (NFU) vice-president insisted Brexit will offer the UK more freedom to trade with the rest of the world.

Speaking to talkRADIO, Mr Roberts said: “There are several benefits. If we talk about trade, there are certain parts of the world where I think we can have some real positive trade deals.

“Our dairy products, for example, are ones that we can lead the world on, we can add value to.
“When you look at our sustainable meat production in this country, people are crying out for this around the world. I think there are some opportunities in trade.”

The NFU vice-president also suggested leaving the European Union will grant the UK to have full control over farming regulations in the future.

Mr Roberts also said Brexit will force British politicians to be more “accountable” for the decisions they will take in the coming years.

He continued: “There are also opportunities in terms of the regulatory environment.
“We are now, at least, in a position where the politicians in this country will make the decisions and be responsible for it.

“They can’t blame someone else, they can’t pass the buck. In every aspect of society, probably for all of us, it was convenient to blame Brussels for things.

“Going forward people are going to have to be more accountable.”

The UK will no longer abide by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) at the end of the transition period scheduled to conclude on December 31, 2020.

in December 2019, former Chancellor Sajid Javid announced farmers could enter the new year with confidence that they will be able to “thrive” after Brexit after he confirmed just under £3 billion of funding for 2020.
The cash – to be spread over two years – will be used to support farmers once all Brexit phases have concluded and the CAP direct payments scheme ends next year.

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Farming

Young hill farmer stars in £250,000 campaign

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AN ACCOMPLISHED young farmer from the Ceiriog valley is starring in a nation-wide campaign promoting PGI Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef.

Caryl Hughes, who farms in partnership with her family near Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog, features in Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC)’s latest campaign.

The £250,000 campaign was announced in November 2019 by HCC Chair Kevin Roberts at the annual HCC Conference and will focus on Welsh red meat’s sustainable qualities. The campaign will include radio and tv advertising, on-demand tv advertising, print advertising and media partnerships. It will also feature core messages around Wales’ sustainable red meat production focusing on elements such as – landscape, climate and water usage.

The television advert sees Caryl at home on her farm in Ceiriog valley and displays the dramatic landscapes and natural surroundings where Caryl rears her own flock.

Caryl is a familiar face within Welsh agriculture; having previously held the role of National Sheep Association Young Ambassador and Montgomery YFC Chair.

Caryl has a degree in Agriculture from Aberystwyth University and, notably, was the first person to undertake the Llyndy Isaf Scholarship with the National Trust – where she managed a Snowdonia hill farm for a year combining sustainable farming practices with managing the outstanding natural environment.

Having also competed on S4C’s Fferm Factor, Caryl is also someone comfortable both on film and in the field.
Commenting on the campaign, Caryl said ‘Like most Welsh sheep and beef farmers, I am very proud of our industry, the food we produce and how we produce it. I’m very pleased to be involved in this campaign promoting exactly that.’

HCC’s Market Development Manager Rhys Llywelyn commented ‘We wanted the real, authentic voices of Welsh farming to star in this campaign to show the real picture of Welsh red meat production.’

‘Caryl’s knowledge, passion and experience are undeniable and she is a very credible ambassador for our industry and produce. We’re sure viewers and consumers at home will find Caryl very relatable and engaging in this advert’
HCC’s new campaign launched on Thursday, February 13, and can be seen and heard on on-demand television platforms and radio stations throughout England and Wales.

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Farming

FUW reminds members about SAF

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IT’s that time of year again when we start thinking about Single Application Forms (SAF).

The application window opens on Monday, March 2, and the Farmers’ Union of Wales is reminding its members that county staff are here to help and ready to take the stress of filling the form away from you.

The FUW provides this service exclusively to all paid-up members as part of their membership package, which has proved invaluable for thousands of members over the years – saving them time and a paperwork-headache.

FUW Membership and Operations Manager Caryl Roberts said: “The SAF completion process is probably the single most important form completion exercise being carried out by Welsh farmers since 2004, and the financial repercussions of errors on the forms are severe.

“Our staff are not only well trained but very well practised in dealing with the complex application process.”
Since the Welsh Government mandated that all applications should be done online, the FUW is focused on providing the best possible service to its members.

“I encourage our members and first-time form fillers to contact their local office as soon as possible to book an appointment if they need help in filling out the form,” added Caryl Roberts.

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