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Farming

Union welcomes private vet input to TB testing

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THE FARMERS’ UNION OF WALES has welcomed deputy farming and food minister Rebecca Evans’ announcement that private vets will remain at the heart

Private vets to help: Menter a Busnes in North Wales and Iechyd Da (Gwledig) Ltd in South Wales

Private vets to help: Menter a Busnes in North Wales and Iechyd Da (Gwledig) Ltd in South Wales

of TB testing procedures in Wales.

Two ‘Delivery Partners’ have successfully tendered for TB testing in Wales – Menter a Busnes in North Wales and Iechyd Da (Gwledig) Ltd in South Wales.

FUW animal health and welfare committee chairman Catherine Nakielny said: “The union is pleased that private vets will remain central to TB testing in Wales. The FUW believes that only private vets have knowledge of the farm business and of the local disease situation.”

Farmers will continue to be responsible for ensuring that TB testing is completed on time but in future they will need to contact their regional Delivery Partner to make the arrangements.

Delivery Partners will then be responsible for allocating the actual testing activity through their network of practices and for assuring the quality of the work performed.

Work that has already been assigned to Official Veterinarian (OV) practices under existing arrangements will be completed by those practices but from April 1 all new work will be undertaken by Delivery Partners.

When making arrangements for tests, farmers and livestock keepers can express a preference to use a specific veterinary practice from within the Delivery Partners network to undertake their testing, and this preference will be honoured where possible.

Farmers and livestock keepers who would prefer to use a practice that is not part of the Delivery Partners network retain an option to pay for the testing privately.

“The announcement provides certainty to farmers in Wales about the future of TB testing and the continued and critical role of the private vet in the control and eradication of bovine TB,” added Miss Nakielny.

Deputy Minister for Farming and Food, Rebecca Evans declared: “This is good news for Wales and particularly for those successful Welsh veterinary service providers which will form an important foundation stone for the TB Eradication Programme.”

Also welcoming the news, Christianne Glossop, Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales commented: “The private vet has a detailed understanding of the wider health status of each herd under their care and is uniquely placed to apply this in support of our TB Eradication Programme. I would like to congratulate Iechyd Da and Menter a Busnes on their successful bids and look forward to working with them.”

Eirwen Williams, Director of Development, Menter a Busnes, stated: “We will be working with Milfeddygon Gogledd Cymru (MGC) which includes 27 local vet practices in North Wales. Winning this contract will mean a continuation of service to farmers and secures many veterinary jobs within the local practices, which make an important contribution to the rural economy. Our aim is to provide an efficient, high quality service and we will be working in close partnership with APHA and the veterinary profession.”

David Thomas, Senior Official Veterinarian (SOV) for Iechyd Da said: “We are delighted that Iechyd Da which is a consortium of 38 independent Welsh veterinary practices and Welsh Lamb & Beef Producers Ltd, a producer co-operative of around 8,000 Welsh livestock farmers have been able to secure this contract. The contract award ensures that TB Testing in the area will be delivered by the farmers local vet practice, as all existing practices delivering TB testing in South Wales are a member of the Iechyd Da consortium.”

The contracts have been awarded for a three year period, with the option to extend up to a further two years.

Farmers and livestock keepers in Wales will continue to be responsible for ensuring that TB testing is completed on time but in future will need to contact their regional Delivery Partner to make these arrangements. Delivery Partners will then be responsible for allocating the actual testing activity through their network of practices, and for assuring the quality of the work performed.

In recognition of the important relationship between farmers or livestock keepers and their vets in preventing and controlling disease and for ensuring the health and welfare of animals, the new contracts require Delivery Partners to offer testing work to eligible veterinary businesses operating within their geographical regions.

Work that has already been assigned to Official Veterinarian (OV) practices under existing arrangements will be completed by those practices but from 1 April all new work will be undertaken by delivery partners.

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Farming

Pembrokeshire Politicians Tuck into a Farmers Breakfast

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PEMBROKESHIRE Senedd Members Paul Davies and Samuel Kurtz joined local farmers and farming representatives for a breakfast to celebrate the Farmers Union of Wales (FUW)’s Farmhouse Breakfast Week 2023. Mr Davies and Mr Kurtz attended the breakfast event in Crundale to champion the benefits of a healthy breakfast and meet with local farmers to discuss the challenges currently facing the sector.

Mr Davies said, “It’s always a pleasure to attend the annual Farmhouse Breakfast and this year was no exception. I’ve always proudly supported Pembrokeshire’s produce and today was another excellent showcase of what our local farmers have on offer. We had some very interesting discussions and I’ll certainly be doing all I can to push the Welsh Government to better support our farmers as its Agriculture Bill makes its way through the Senedd. I’d also like to encourage the people of Pembrokeshire to support Farmhouse Breakfast Week too by buying local produce and enjoying a healthy Pembrokeshire breakfast – there’s plenty of excellent produce on offer, please take advantage and help support our farmers.”

Samuel Kurtz MS, local Senedd Member for Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire, added:

“Farming is often an isolated industry, and so the FUW’s Farmhouse Breakfast morning in Crundale Hall presented the perfect opportunity to get everyone together, in one room, talking and socialising.

“From council farm tenants to fourth-generation cattle farmers, everyone was brought round the table to taste some fantastic locally sourced produce.

“It was great to be there supporting the FUW and the DPJ Foundation, a fantastic charity that operates across the country, supporting those in agriculture and rural communities with their mental health.”

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Farming

Managing Director for new Pembrokeshire creamery announced

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PEMBROKESHIRE CREAMERY LTD, the West Wales-based business currently building a new state of the art liquid milk processing facility in Haverfordwest, has appointed Mark McQuade as managing director.

Mark brings extensive dairy industry experience from previous roles as operations director of McQueen’s Dairy, national accounts director of Muller Wiseman Dairies and as an executive board director of First Milk.

Pembrokeshire Creamery Ltd will have the capacity to bottle more than a million litres of milk a week in its initial phase and gives UK supermarkets the opportunity to offer their Welsh customers milk that is both sourced and bottled in Wales rather than being driven to England for processing which is currently the case.

By removing the need for Welsh milk to be transported to bottling plants in England, Pembrokeshire Creamery will be able to reduce food miles, increase supply chain efficiency, create new skilled jobs and support local farming communities.

Mark commented: “I am very excited to be joining the team in Pembrokeshire. We aim to be the only BRC Certified facility to offer Welsh milk that is also bottled in Wales, and as such, the new facility has huge potential. I know from having worked with Pembrokeshire dairy farmers in previous roles that this is a fantastic milk field in which to build an authentically Welsh milk supply for Welsh supermarket stores.”

Huw Thomas, CEO of Puffin Produce and Pembrokeshire Creamery board member added:

“We are delighted that Mark has agreed to join Pembrokeshire Creamery as he brings with him rich industry knowledge and experience which will help accelerate our growth ambitions.”

Construction work began in November and the plant will be fully operational by the Autumn of 2023.

Pembrokeshire Creamery Ltd has also announced a multi-million pound contract with Sycamore Process Engineering to design, manufacture and install the milk processing equipment.

Paul Manning, project director at Sycamore Process Engineering said: “We bring more than 30 years of experience in the dairy, food, and beverage industry and a strong focus on sustainability, ensuring our process solutions are energy efficient, and promoting the best OPEX with minimal product wastage. We’re working closely with Pembrokeshire Creamery to develop a top of line processing facility which meets their current needs and can expand with them as the business grows in future.”

Other businesses contracted to the construction phase include DKAN for ground works, Morgans of Usk for the steel frame and ABS Elbrow for cladding.

The development of Pembrokeshire Creamery has been supported by the Welsh Government and the EU RDP-funded Food Business Investment Scheme. Additional funding has been supplied by HSBC.

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Farming

Calls on Welsh Government to address Pembrokeshire rural poverty

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PLAID CYMRU member of the Senedd for Mid & West Wales, Cefin Campbell, has renewed calls for the Welsh Government to commit to developing a strategy to address rural poverty in Wales.

Mr Campbell’s calls follow recent figures, published by Loughborough University on behalf of the End Child Poverty Coalition that showed Pembrokeshire had the highest child poverty rate of any local authority in Wales – with 35.5% of children living in poverty.

Challenging the First Minister, Mark Drakeford, to commit to developing a focused strategy on addressing rural poverty, Mr Campbell also highlighted wider challenges within rural communities that contributed towards a pattern of “entrenched poverty” over the course of many years and generations.

Commenting Cefin Campbell MS said: “The true extent of rural poverty is often masked by the relative affluence of some rural areas and a wider culture of self-reliance within our rural communities.

Rural communities across Pembrokeshire face many unique pressures that have contributed towards a pattern of long-term entrenched poverty. These include poor access to public transport, patchy public service provision, a lack of affordable housing, and relatively low incomes and high prices. Sadly, the developing cost-of-living crisis over recent months has merely exacerbated these factors and plunged many households into further financial hardship and uncertainty.”

Previous research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that most rural households typically spend 10-20% more on everyday goods and services compared to those living in more urban areas. A recent report by Sustrans Cymru also emphasised that people living in rural areas of Wales are some of the worst affected by transport poverty – with households likely to spend more than 10% of its income on the costs of running a car.

Such financial pressures were further emphasised with research from the Bevan Foundation, published last year, finding that a typical worker in Pembrokeshire is a belt-tightening £346 a month worse off than a typical UK worker.

Cefin Campbell MS added: “The hardship being faced by Wales’ rural communities is a wake-up call – and inaction in addressing such rural poverty may very well become Welsh Labour’s legacy in Wales.

It’s time the Welsh Government committed to better identifying the many unique and exclusive factors that contribute towards this rural poverty, and work with stakeholders to bring together a strategy and vision to better empower and aid these communities”.

Speaking in response to Mr Campbell’s calls for a specific rural poverty strategy, First Minister, Mark Drakeford, said: “I recognise that there are certain factors that are unique to people living in rural areas, and I can agree with what the Member said. It is sometimes difficult to identify poverty in some of our rural communities. Of course, every part of Wales is facing a challenge at the moment—whether you live in the Valleys, in the centre of Cardiff, there are unique challenges in all parts of Wales. I can tell the Member that a plan will be drawn up. The Minister for Social Justice is currently working on practical steps that we can take to help, particularly in the area of child poverty.”

Calling for action: Cefin Campbell MS (Image file)
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