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Farming

Dry weather hits fodder stocks

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Fodder shortage looms: Call for government action from FUW

THE FUW has called on the UK and Welsh Governments to take action to reduce the impact of the dry weather on farms and livestock.

Across Wales, farms are experiencing major problems due to the dry weather, and the Welsh Government has already given the go-ahead for a number of derogations to help reduce the pressure.

In letters to Welsh Rural Affairs Cabinet Secretary Lesley Griffiths and UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove, the union asks for the ministers to work with their counterparts across the UK to minimise current and looming problems.

An urgent meeting between the Cabinet Secretary, Welsh farming organisations and others has been requested, while Mr Gove has been asked to consider ways in which the UK Government might intervene to prevent crops being burnt in straw-fired power stations – including introducing a temporary ban on the practice to increase supplies available for animals.

FUW Vice President Eifion Huws said: “We had an unusually wet and long winter, meaning farms had to house livestock for longer than usual and fodder supplies had run out before the spring.

“Having started the new season with fodder reserves at zero, we have now gone from one extreme to the other, with soaring temperatures and the extended dry period adding to problems caused by the previous wet weather.”

Mr Huws said streams, wells and boreholes had dried up, grass growth was severely affected, with many areas killed off, and a fall in the quality and quality of hay and straw crops.

“Grass growth is so badly affected many are now feeding animals with first-cut silage which would normally not have been used until the autumn, and the chances of making up for that as summer progresses are vanishingly small.

“This means even if conditions this coming autumn and winter are more normal than they were during the past twelve months, fodder shortages will hit farmers early on, causing major problems as we go into the winter.”

Mr Huws said the fact that crops which are likely to be desperately needed by farmers over the coming year is being burnt in straw-fired power stations added to concerns.

“We have asked the Secretary of State to consider ways in which the UK Government might intervene to minimise the additional problems which will hit our industry if desperately needed supplies have been used in this way.

“That includes introducing a temporary ban on the practice in order to increase the supplies available for animals over the coming winter.”

“We also believe an urgent meeting between our Welsh Cabinet Secretary, Welsh farming organisations and others is needed to investigate what actions can be taken in Wales to alleviate current problems and those we are likely to face this coming winter.”

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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