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Farming

Agri organisations want Brexit extensions

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THE UK Farming Roundtable, representing farmers and growers from agricultural organisations across the UK, has today written to all MPs urging them to unite around a single option for an orderly Brexit by Wednesday next week. Failing this, the Government must request a further extension to the Article 50 negotiations.

The letter said: “We are intensely frustrated at the continuing impasse over the UK’s departure from the EU and urge you to take whatever steps are necessary, right now, to ensure the UK does not leave without a deal in the coming days.

“Government and Parliament must ensure our departure from the EU is an orderly one. The farming sector is clear that leaving without a deal would cause huge economic damage to British farming. Over recent months farming organisations, alongside individual farmers and growers, have consistently warned MPs of the severe consequences that no-deal would have, not only for our agricultural and horticultural sectors and the jobs they provide, but also for food supply in the UK and the high standards to which our food is produced and our farmed environment is managed.

“To this end, if parliament has failed to coalesce around a single and clear option for an orderly departure from the EU by the end of the day on Wednesday April 3, the government must request an extension from the EU27 to the Article 50 negotiations. This extension must be of sufficient length to allow government and MPs to agree on a stable way forward out of the current impasse that ensures a stable operating environment for farm businesses. A further extension of just a matter of weeks is not acceptable, given the damaging time and resource that has already been expended in managing the threat of a no-deal departure over recent weeks and months.

“It is unacceptable for farming – and for wider British businesses – to be in a perpetual state of uncertainty with no clear idea of the trading conditions they could be operating under in just a matter of days. This extreme uncertainty is already having real-world impacts on British farming and food production, with investments being put on hold, critical jobs remaining unfilled and farm-gate prices facing increasing downward pressure.

“Time is almost up. MPs must now consider the concessions they will need to accommodate to bring to an end the enormous and damaging uncertainty that is already undermining our food and farming sectors, not to mention the wider economy.”

WELSH FARMING UNIONS RESPOND

Responding to the Parliament’s rejection of the Prime Minister’s withdrawal agreement, NFU Cymru President Mr John Davies said: “It is very clear that Parliamentary support for the Prime Minister’s proposals is simply not there. Brexit uncertainties continue to bear down on the sector, meaning that we have no idea of the trading conditions that we might be operating under in a matter of days, something which is having a severe impact on the sector’s confidence and general wellbeing.

“If we are leaving the European Union, then this must be done in an orderly fashion. That is why I lent my signature to a letter which went to all MPs yesterday, stating that if by Wednesday 3rd April Parliament has not coalesced around a single clear option for an orderly departure from the EU, the government must seek an extension from the EU27 to the Article 50 process. Such an extension must be long enough to find a way forward out of the current impasse which delivers a stable operating environment for farm businesses.”

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “With power over the Brexit process now resting firmly with Parliament, MPs need to recognise that withdrawing Article 50 is the only way to secure sufficient time to allow a consensus to be reached which bridges the political divides which exist within and between parties.”

Having called for Article 50 to be revoked in January, in recent weeks the FUW has called for preparations to be made for holding European Parliament elections and for all relevant legislation to be changed to allow Brexit to take place over a far more realistic timetable.

“The uncertainty that is affecting businesses across the UK is a direct result of the UK Government’s decision to try and achieve the unachievable over a very short timescale – something we warned against on the day the referendum outcome was announced.

Businesses need to know it will be ‘business as usual’ for a set period and have plenty of warning – months or years – of what exactly will happen after that date so they can prepare properly.

“It is a disgrace that businesses have been facing complete uncertainty as to what might happen in just days’ time, and the responsibility for that lies firmly with the UK government.”

Mr Roberts reiterated the FUW’s long-held view that leaving the EU while staying in the Single Market and Customs Union remained the best way to bridge the political divide which had come from the EU referendum.

“I am heartened by the outcome of the indicative votes which took place last week, and all the necessary moves to allow that process of compromise and common sense to continue need to take place. Revoking Article 50 would be a sure way to give the process sufficient time.

“At the very least, agreeing a lengthy extension period and holding EU elections would bring us closer to having a timetable that properly reflects the magnitude of the task at hand.”

Farming

Pembrokeshire estate to auction pedigree Hereford Cattle

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A PEMBROKESHIRE estate is set to auction its herd of pedigree Hereford cattle. Nearly 150 animals from the Hean Castle Estate in Saundersfoot are listed for a forthcoming dispersal sale, prompted by a change in the estate’s farming business.

The Hean Herd, an iconic sight on the estate since its introduction in 2012, replaced the farm’s award-winning dairy enterprise. The estate’s Home Farm is also being offered for letting, either as a whole or in separate lots.

This announcement was made by Hean Castle Estate this week in a Facebook post, which followers described as “sad news”.

A spokesperson for the estate commented: “We announce with great sadness that, following a strategic review of the estate’s farming business, the decision has been taken to cease the in-hand business, resulting in the dispersal of the ‘Hean’ Herd.”

The dispersal sale of the herd will take place on the farm on Saturday, 24th August.

The estate said on Facebook:” It is with great sadness that, following a strategic review of the Estate’s farming business, the decision has been taken to cease the in-hand business resulting in the dispersal of the ‘Hean’ Herd.

“A catalogue with full details will be published in due course, however the Dispersal sale will be held on Saturday 24th August, on the farm, and will be conducted by Mr Jonny Dymond BSc (Hons) FLAA of Messrs Halls Holdings Ltd

“The sale will comprise the following lots:

– 64 Spring Calved Cows and Heifers, with Calves at foot.

– 16 In-calf Cows due 1st September onwards.

– 6 In-calf Heifers due 1st September onwards.

– 29 Spring ’23 born Heifers running with Bulls for Spring ’25 calving.

– 20 Spring ’23 born Heifers, free of the Bull.

– 12 Autumn ’23 born Heifers

– 5 Stock Bulls.

– 22 Embryos.

“The Stock Bulls, a small selection of promising Bull Calves and all the Females are registered, and the remaining Bull Calves notified, with the Hereford Cattle Society.

“The Herd is FAWL Farm Assured, High Health Certified by Biobest and has Gold Standard Gwardu BVD Certification, is accredited free of BVD & IBR, and is vaccinated against Leptospirosis and Blackleg. Tested Clear for TB 18/07/24.

“Online Bidding for the sale will be available via MartEye.

“For further information, please contact David Burnhill, Herd Manager. (07483) 150253.”

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Farming

National Grid issue safety plea of ‘look out, look up’ to Welsh farmers

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DURING Farm Safety Week (22 – 26 July) and the Royal Welsh Show (22 – 25 July), Welsh farmers are being urged to ‘look out, look up’, and stay safe around electrical equipment to avoid the risk of accidents.

Every year, National Grid Electricity Distribution – the electricity operator for South Wales, the Midlands and South West – is called to incidents in which farm vehicles have collided with overhead power lines. It is estimated that at least one agricultural accident involving overhead lines is reported every day in the UK.

One of these reports was at Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, when a harvester collided with a high voltage conductor, leaving the overhead line on the ground. After being made safe, the conductor was re-erected at an increased height to make sure farm machinery could pass safely underneath the power line. No one was injured.

At a farm in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, emergency repairs had to be carried out to overhead lines and conductors after a tractor hit an electricity pole. No one was injured.

As farm machinery continues to increase in size, the distance between equipment and nearby power lines is at risk of reducing, meaning that accidents could be more likely.

Paul Woodward, Safety Manager for National Grid Electricity Distribution, said:

“Every year, our engineers and technicians are called to incidents involving farming equipment and overhead power lines.

“Accidents involving the electricity supply can have devastating consequences, so it’s really important that the farmers ‘look out’ and ‘look up’ – particularly when working with big or heavy machinery.

“We are committed to ensuring that farm workers have the knowledge and resources they need to get home safe every day, and will continue to work with farming communities in South Wales and across the country to reduce incidents involving our power lines.”

As part of National Grid’s farm safety campaign, the operator has outlined five simple steps to ensure farmers stay safe when working close to power lines:

Never raise elevating equipment, such as spray booms, cabbage harvesters and trailer bodies, under or close to overhead power lines.
Never store or move materials under, or close to, overhead power lines, as this reduces the safe clearance distance beneath the overhead lines.
Know the maximum reach and height of any vehicle you are operating, and be vigilant when using GPS – accidents can still happen.
You cannot see electricity – the area around a fallen line, including the soil, equipment and other objects, could be live – so stay away.
If contact is made with a power line, farm workers are advised to stay in the cab and try to drive clear. If that is not possible, the driver should stay in the cab and telephone 105, only leaving the machine in an emergency. When leaving the vehicle, they should take care not to hold the machine and touch the ground at the same time, and take leaping strides so one foot is clear from the ground at all times – or ‘bunny hop’ away with both feet kept together.
Farmers are also encouraged to use the ‘What3Words’ app, which allows farmers to pinpoint the exact location of an incident. This means that network engineers can isolate the power in seconds using remote technology, therefore reducing the risk of accidents and threat to life.

National Grid will be at the Royal Welsh Show all week offering safety advice and giving out stickers to put in the cab of vehicles with a reminder of how to stay safe when working near power lines.

Farmers can find out more about National Grid’s safety advice and access additional resources at National Grid – Farming safety.

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Farming

The importance of keeping children safe on farms

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WALES Farm Safety Partnership, alongside Lantra Cymru has created a new e-learning course. ‘Children on Farms’ will give you guidance on keeping children safe on your farm during the upcoming summer holidays.

This course, taking roughly 45 minutes to complete, provides participants with the knowledge and tools to ensure a safe and enjoyable summer for the whole family.

The course covers a wide range of child safety topics on the farm, including legal responsibilities, vehicle safety (tractors, ATVs), preventing falls, and managing hazards around equipment and harmful substances. It also emphasises the importance of creating a farm safety checklist.

Kevin Thomas Lantra Wales Director said; “Lantra understand the importance of children on family farms and fully support the need for the next generation to have a keen interest on the day-to-day workings of the farm, but it must be done with safety in mind. Lantra are fully committed to farm safety, especially for children, which is why Lantra have made this course free for everyone to complete”.

This timely resource is perfect for busy farmers who want to be proactive about child safety before the summer break.

A toolkit on child safety has also been created to underline the safety of children on farms.

Farms can be a dangerous place for children. Young children need a safe play area separate from the work zones, and for older children (under 16), any visit to the work area must be planned, closely supervised by an adult that’s not working, and for educational purposes.

Everyone in a farm work place has a responsibility to protect children who are vulnerable because of their age and physical and mental immaturity.

Vehicles and machinery present the greatest risk to children and are probably the areas of farm life most attractive to older children.

Meleri Jones, Farming Connect’s Health and Safety Coordinator, says “It’s important to keep safety in mind when children are on farm – you don’t want to live with regret.”

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