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Farming

Summer of change for rural Wales

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walescountrysideTHE RECENT unplanned removal of the Minister for Natural Resources and the subsequent carve-up of ministerial positions again makes it difficult to see exactly who will be in charge when it comes to important agricultural and rural decisions – especially without a dedicated minister at the top table. These changes come against a backdrop of difficult decisions still to be made or enacted. What will the new Minister do about CAP payments at a time when farmers’ incomes have dropped by 44%? How will she deal with her predecessor’s proposals to introduce a table valuation scheme for bovine TB compensation? What discussions will she have with DEFRA – who have a full Minister at the Cabinet for agricultural issues – about the red meat levy that deprives our farming sector of £1m per year? And what will she be doing about the supermarkets and their grip on the sector? It is a big role, very important to the Welsh economy, and one deserving of a full Welsh cabinet post. There is also a great deal of work to be done at a European level, with Italy now taking on the Presidency of the European Council for the second half of 2014. Although CAP negotiations and the EU budget are mapped out until 2020, there are still very important agricultural negotiations taking place. Amongst the most important, here are 5 issues that I’ll be keeping an eye on during the next few months. Firstly, the revision of rules governing the organic sector. Next is an overhaul of the school food schemes (distribution of fruit, vegetables & fresh milk among schoolgoing children) Then, of course, there’s the review of the EU Animal & Plant Health Package. The European Parliament took its position on the Animal health element but failed to do so with regards to the seeds regulation. Many of you contacted me, and indeed I wrote about this law back in February. These proposals have wide-ranging implications on the potential of ordinary growers to have access to the seeds that they need. Also of interest are the on-going TTIP free-trade negotiations between the EU-US. The lack of transparency with regards to this agreement is undemocratic and undoubtedly detrimental for the agricultural industry in Wales. Finally, the talks on the cultivation of genetically modified crops at member state level. Regular readers of this column again will know of my opposition to GMOs and to the European approach to this subject, and it is again something on which I expect the new Deputy Agricultural Minister to make clear her opposition. As always, I will keep a close eye on proceedings and stand up for Wales at all times, but it falls on the Welsh Government to fight to make sure that their voices are heard around the negotiating table. While it is the UK government that hold competency for negotiating on EU matters, on devolved issues, the Welsh government must also engage. I urge the new Welsh government ministers to stand up for Wales during negotiations.

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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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