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Farming

EU aid payments linked to milk production for UK farmers

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“We need a government that understands farming”: Sian Davies, NFU

“We need a government that understands farming”: Sian Davies,
NFU

UK dairy farmers will receive a one-off support payment linked to milk production to help with cash-flow problems caused by volatile prices, Defra has confirmed.
Ministers in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales had flexibility about how to allocate their share of the UK’s £26.2m overall direct aid package but all have opted to pay in line with England.
The united approach across the UK will make it easier for the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) to adopt a standard method of payment and ensure aid reaches farmers’ bank accounts in December.
The UK’s overall direct support package is the third largest of all the member states.
In England, dairy farmers will share £15.5m in recognition of the prolonged period of low prices in this particular farming sector. Northern Ireland was given a boosted allocation – worth £5.1m – in recognition that Northern Irish farmers have been suffering from some of the lowest prices across Europe.
UK Farming Minister George Eustice said: “We recognise that many dairy farmers in the UK are suffering financially at the moment and the support will offer some relief.
“Dairy farmers are a vital part of our £100billion food and farming industry and I’m pleased to confirm that ministers across the Union have agreed to distribute the aid in the simplest way – linked to milk production – to ensure the RPA can get this money into farmers’ bank accounts promptly.”
In England and Wales, the one-off payment for an average-sized dairy farm would come out at around £1,800 per farmer.
“In Northern Ireland farmers will be allocated, on average, just short of £2,000. In Scotland, because they have larger dairy units on average, it will be just over £2,500.
Surprisingly, Andrew R.T. Davies, the Welsh Conservative Leader who has berated Rebecca Evans AM, the Welsh Farming Minister and the Welsh Government for not making payments to farmers before December has not jumped up and down with rage at the policy of the Conservative Government in Westminster on the same point. Perhaps ashamed of having his political opportunism exposed, Mr Davies has not offered a comment on the topic at this time.
Sian Davies, the NFU’s chief dairy adviser attended the meeting with Mr Eustice and reported back to the NFU, saying: “When we met with George Eustice this week, I called for a number of short-term measures, including prompt payment of BPS monies, giving farmers who’re losing money more time to pay tax which is due in January, plus bringing in the five year tax averaging that was announced earlier this year.
“We need a government that understands farming and that has a long-term ambition for the growth of our industry.”
Calling for specific action by the government, Ms Davies continued: “I also believe government has a role in urging allied industries and the banks to be supportive and understanding of the current market downturn. They can also make a difference when it comes to clearer labelling and I’m glad to see movement in strengthening the UK voluntary code on labelling across all sectors, and the plan to bring in more signatories, including DairyUK.
“The government’s own procurement policy for dairy products is another area which Defra should be looking at to ensure all departments are supporting British agriculture in its time of need. Defra has a role in promoting British agriculture outside our shores too, and I urged the Mr Eustice to raise our concerns in Brussels, where alongside changes to market management measures such as private storage aid and intervention, there is work being carried out on labelling, school milk, promotion and reopening the EU dairy package.
“We need a government that understands farming and that has a long-term ambition for the growth of our industry. It must send the right business signals to the UK’s dairy farmers in challenging times, as well as in the future.”

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Farming

Appeal for dog walkers to keep pets under control during lambing season

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THE LAMBING season is upon us and with many public paths crossing fields of sheep, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority is appealing to dog walkers to follow best practice when out in the countryside.

While walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail and other public footpaths and bridleways:

Always keep dogs on a short lead and under close control when sheep or any other livestock are present.
Clean up after your dog; bag it and bin it wherever you can or take it away –please do not leave poo bags in the countryside.

National Park Authority Public Rights of Way Officer, Meurig Nicholas said: “If your dog is out of your sight or left out of control, it may chase after, attack or worry sheep. Worried and stressed pregnant sheep can miscarry or abort their lambs.

“Young lambs are also very vulnerable at this time, and can get distressed and even die if they are separated from their mothers or abandoned after being chased by dogs.”

There have also been incidents where dogs have had to be rescued from cliffs because they were not kept under close control.

Mr Nicholas added: “These situations have resulted in emergency services such as the Coastguard and RNLI having to retrieve and rescue dogs. These incidents are avoidable and add unnecessary pressure to our busy emergency services.”

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Farming

Plan for ‘collaborative approach’ to tackling rural crime issues

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THIS week (Mar 9) Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn chaired a strategic meeting with key stakeholders to identify collaborative opportunities to tackle rural and wildlife crime in the Dyfed-Powys area.

Following a meeting with the Farming Unions in Wales earlier this year, Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn is keen to establish a Strategic Partnership Working Group with key stakeholders that will aim to identify ways of working collaboratively to tackle some of the rural and wildlife crime issues in Dyfed-Powys.

Dyfed-Powys Police have recently appointed a Sergeant for the Rural Crime Team, and the Police and Crime Commissioner has been keen to consult with key stakeholders to gain an input from partners to support the development of a new Rural Crime Strategy for the Force.

Key Stakeholders that were invited to be part of the strategic group include both NFU Cymru and FUW unions, as well as local authorities, National Parks, RSPCA and many others.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn said: “I had positive discussions with representatives from both unions earlier this year to highlight some of the rural crime issues in the Dyfed-Powys area.

“One of the priorities identified was the need to take a collaborative approach to tackling rural and wildlife Crime, and the meeting with several key partners today was an opportunity to develop discussions and ideas further”.

Earlier in March, PCC Dafydd Llywelyn published a Rural Crime bulletin, which highlights some of the work that has taken place recently in the Dyfed-Powys area, and cross border collaborative initiatives.

PCC Dafydd Llywelyn noted that this multi agency partnership will aim to build on some of the great work that is already happening, and said;  “This meeting today comes a year on from the successful St. David’s Day Conference focusing on Rural Crime that I held at Police Headquarters last year. The last 12 months have been like no other but sadly crime and incidents affecting the rural community have continued.

“Today’s multiagency Strategic meeting was an opportunity to present the new Sergeant for the specialist team, and to discuss a new website that we are developing in partnership with North Wales Police to provide key crime prevention messages to the agricultural industry – the Future Farms Cymru initiative.

“I’m grateful to all partners who attended the meeting today, and I now look forward to take all comments on board as we look to re-energise and refocus the work of the Dyfed Powys Rural Crime Team.”

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Farming

NFU Cymru ‘responds robustly’ to WG

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NFU CYMRU has said that many proposals within the Welsh Government and Defra’s Welfare in Transport consultation will cause significant disruption to livestock transportation in the UK.

In a robust response to the joint Welsh Government / Defra consultation, the union has stressed the significant impact the proposals would have on the livestock and poultry sectors, and raised concerns that if the proposals are implemented, they will fail to deliver any meaningful benefit to animals’ welfare.

Wyn Evans, NFU Cymru Livestock Board Chairman said: “In order to ensure the best possible welfare outcomes, the main priorities should be the animal’s fitness to travel, loading and unloading, driver training and experience, rather than the length of the journey or the external temperature at the time of transport.

“We firmly believe that the current regulations for domestic transport already deliver high welfare, as a result of the standards, cleanliness and adaptability to different weather conditions of transport boxes in the UK. But as an industry, we want to strive for even better. We believe that in order to do that there should be more focus on certified training and providing clearer, sector-specific guidance, particularly during loading and unloading rather than what is proposed in the consultation. Good welfare and healthy livestock go hand in hand; safe arrival at a destination, be that at market or abattoir, must be and is a priority.

“The transporting of livestock is an integral part of UK food production. The suggested changes to journeys based on duration and weather conditions would cause serious delays and disruption, potentially damaging welfare outcomes, while changes to vehicle requirements would add significant costs. It will also lead to many more journeys being made, increasing greenhouse gas emissions, which work against both farming’s and the government’s net-zero targets.

“Turning to the part of the consultation on live exports, we have inputted our views into a proposed NFU assurance scheme, which is detailed in an appendix in the response. This would be extremely effective in delivering welfare outcomes at the same time as maintaining this trade, as assessing the animals’ health and reporting back to producers is a fundamental part of the scheme.”

Richard Williams, Chairman of NFU Cymru’s Poultry Group said: “Looking at the month of January for example, over the last three years on average there were 10 days where temperatures were five degrees or less. If the proposals were implemented to stop transport at this temperature, no broilers could be collected off-farm in those days. If we had a prolonged cold snap; this would have a massive effect on the food chain.

“With any policy developments government makes, it is essential they are based on the latest evidence.  We have an industry to be proud of, with world-leading standards, and that includes our current transportation requirements for all farmed livestock.”

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