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Farming

Union leaders meet European Commissioner

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The man at the centre of Europe’s farming: EU Commissioner Phil Hogan

The man at the centre of Europe’s
farming: EU Commissioner Phil
Hogan

LEADERS of NFU Cymru travelled to Brussels last week to meet with new European Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, to discuss a variety of issues affecting Welsh agriculture. During the meeting, which was arranged by COPA, and held in the same building as the NFU Cymru European Office, British Agriculture Bureau (BAB), Commissioner Hogan, stressed that simplification of the CAP was a top work priority for 2015.

The Commissioner also recognised the impact that red tape can have on business decisions and that simplification makes for greater competitiveness and increases the potential of agriculture to grow. He also acknowledged that farmers need stability and simplification for the coming years and referred to elements that can be changed within the current policy framework to aid this.

NFU Cymru President, Stephen James, said: “It was heartening to hear that Commissioner Hogan recognises the issues at hand and commits to simplification as a priority. “He stressed that teamwork is essential to delivering this priority and we at NFU Cymru are committed to working with him, and his team, to help deliver the benefits that in turn will help Welsh farmers prosper and deliver food for the future.”

The Russian trade ban and the impact it was currently having on the dairy sector was also discussed and confirmation was made that the Commission had adopted additional market measures,such as prolonging private storage aid and public intervention in order to offer a safety net to help stabilise the market. During the course of the visit to Brussels NFU Cymru also raised a number of other issues including members concerns over the current greening measures and the EC Delegated Act, which makes land with more than 100 trees per hectare ineligible for Basic Payment Scheme. Reference was also made on the progress on Rural Development Programmes across Europe, where the Commissioner stressed the importance role of young farmers in the future of European agriculture.

NFU Cymru Director, John Mercer, said: “This was particularly relevant as our meeting coincided with us hosting the Welsh Junior Agri-academy group who sat in as observers with the Commissioner and heard first-hand of his commitment to help ensure farming remains an attractive career choice. “The role that young farmers play in going forward is vital to Welsh agriculture and it was encouraging to learn of the various support measures that the Commission is proposing, including business start-up aid and knowledge transfer through the European Innovation Partnership. “These meetings illustrate perfectly our lobbying activities within Europe and the importance of having an office at the heart of Brussels.”

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Farming

Battle over unauthorised buildings at Pembrokeshire farm set to continue

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A PROLONGED dispute regarding unapproved structures erected at Cwm Farm in Llawhaden, Pembrokeshire, is poised to extend into next year, the Herald understands.

Pembrokeshire County Council has sought an injunction to demolish a substantial cattle shed constructed on the farm without obtaining planning permission.

Landowners Ryan and Declan Cole undertook the construction of a 96×29 meter cattle shed on their property without seeking the necessary planning consent.

Despite submitting two unsuccessful planning applications for a sizeable agricultural building, hardstanding, and access track in 2019 and 2020, the brothers proceeded with the construction.

On February 12, 2021, the council’s planning department issued an enforcement notice mandating the removal of the structures within four months.

The Planning Inspectorate subsequently extended this deadline to nine months.

However, the brothers failed to comply with the order.

In an attempt to rectify the situation, the Cole brothers applied for retrospective planning permission for the same developments.

Unfortunately for them, the council’s planning committee rejected their application in September of last year.

Consequently, Ryan, 24, and Declan, 23, both residing at Clifton Villa in Clynderwen, were each fined £1,000 by Haverfordwest Magistrates Court on Thursday, March 9, for non-compliance with the enforcement notice.

Undeterred, the Cole brothers have now lodged an appeal with Planning and Environment Decisions Wales against the council’s refusal to grant retrospective planning permission.

During a hearing on Thursday, May 18, His Honour Justice Jarman KC agreed to suspend the proceedings until the appeal process is finalized.

A spokesperson for Pembrokeshire County Council stated, “In light of the Cole brothers’ appeal to Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW) against Pembrokeshire County Council’s refusal to grant them retrospective planning permission, both parties have mutually agreed to halt injunction proceedings until the appeal’s outcome.”

The parties involved will reconvene in court to provide an update on the progress of the appeal at the earliest available date after February 18, 2024.

The ongoing battle over the unauthorized structures at Cwm Farm remains unresolved, leaving the ultimate fate of the contested cattle shed hanging in the balance.

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Farming

Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society launches search for county’s top progressive farmers

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IF you farm in Pembrokeshire, are under the age of 45, and can demonstrate your farm’s use of the latest technological methods to promote progressive, sustainable agriculture then the Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society encourage you to enter the prestigious Baron de Rutzen Award.

Brian Jones, Pembrokeshire County Show President, said, “We are looking for a local Pembrokeshire farmer who can demonstrate their farm’s use of the latest technological methods to promote progressive, sustainable agriculture. They also need to show consideration for the environment and habitat sensitivity on their farm as well as present an aesthetically pleasing example of farming in the county.”

Last year’s winner of the Award was Michael Williams, a dairy farmer from Puncheston. He farms conventionally using regenerative farming practices. His emphasis is longevity of herd and sustainability of on-farm food production using low inputs and low disturbance methods. Producing food and enhancing the environment to make for happy cows. Michael is signed up to the Regenerative Farming Plan with a net zero commitment by 2040.

The de Rutzen family have had a considerable influence in Pembrokeshire through their agricultural estates and diverse businesses interests over many years. Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society gratefully acknowledges the generosity of J H Llewellin & family, of Kilbarth, Rudbaxton, Haverfordwest, for kindly presenting the Baron de Rutzen Trophy to the Society.

Baron John Fredrick De Rutzen was President of Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society in 1936 and the Baron de Rutzen Trophy was produced in his memory. The third Baron served in the Welsh Guards and tragically died, aged 36, in 1944.

This year’s entrants must be fully practising farmers within the county of Pembrokeshire and were under the age of 45 years on 1 January 2023. Entries can either be by nomination or direct application online on the Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society website. Click here to apply: Baron de Rutzen Award | Pembrokeshire County Show | Pembs Agricultural Society (pembsshow.org)

The closing date for nominations and applications is at noon on Wednesday, 31 May 2023.

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Farming

Animals seized from Pembrokeshire farm as man arrested by police

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A DRAMATIC animal welfare operation has taken place in Pembrokeshire, resulting in the seizure of almost 100 animals and the arrest of a man. The operation was a joint effort by the RSPCA, Dyfed-Powys Police, and inspectors from Pembrokeshire’s animal health and welfare team, who were called to land at the Ridgeway in Lamphey on Tuesday, April 18.

Concerns had been raised about the welfare of the animals, which included one cow, five dogs, 19 various poultry, 26 sheep and 43 pigs. The seizure was carried out under the authority of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, with the aim of preventing suffering.

According to Pembrokeshire County Council, the operation was linked to the prosecution of Richard Scarfe, of Pembroke Dock. Scarfe had been convicted of multiple animal welfare offences on January 26, 2022, and was disqualified from keeping cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and donkeys for five years. Animal health officers from the council visited the land and acted after vets issued a Section 18 determination, meaning the animals were suffering or were likely to suffer if they were not removed.

All of the animals have now been taken to safety, where their veterinary needs were assessed and their care will be monitored.

Dyfed-Powys Police have confirmed that a man was arrested on suspicion of breaching a disqualification order made under the Animal Welfare Act. The 42-year-old man was later released under investigation.

A spokesperson for the force said: “On Tuesday, April 18, Dyfed-Powys Police Rural Crime Team Officers assisted RSPCA, Pembrokeshire Animal Health and Welfare Inspectors with the seizure of a number of animals at an address in Lamphey, Pembrokeshire. A 42-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of breaching a disqualification order under the Animal Welfare Act. He has since been released under investigation.”

Pembrokeshire County Council confirmed that further proceedings will now follow. Cllr Michelle Bateman, cabinet member for housing operations and regulatory services, praised the actions of council officers and partners. “I commend the actions of council officers and partners to remove these animals, prevent suffering and protect their welfare,” she said. “I hope this action will serve as a deterrent to others that Pembrokeshire County Council will act decisively where serious cases of animal neglect and suffering arise.”

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