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Farming

Less than a month to go to the closing date

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nfu (1)Who will win the title of NFU Cymru / Principality Building Society Wales Woman Farmer of the Year and the £500 prize money? This is the question on everyone’s lips as the closing date for entries is creeping closer.

 Pembrokeshire’s female farmers are being urged to enter the NFU Cymru / Principality Building Society Wales Woman Farmer of the Year 2014/15 competition, which – now in its 18th year – has helped to celebrate the contribution of women in what is still a very male-dominated industry. The reality today is that many farms are run in partnership, and the ‘farmer’ is not always a man. Women are not only running farms, but also in today’s tough financial climate, often running a separate business to bolster the family income, while juggling childcare and family life. Mike Plumb, NFU Cymru Pembrokeshire County Chairman said, “I think I’m safe in saying we have not had an award winner from Pembrokeshire since 2008, this is the 18th year that this award has been running, so let’s make it a good year for our county. Women in farming are still very much the hidden heroines of the industry. Very few want to claim the limelight, preferring instead to contribute behind the scenes. Many local children have been raised on farms sitting on pushchairs watching mum pull calves or milk cows or drive the tractor. This competition is for ordinary women, who perhaps don’t realise that what they are doing is extraordinary. ” Julie Ann Haines, Customer Director from the Principality Building Society, the competition’s sponsor, said, “Every year more and more women take the step to start their own business and no matter what the industry, it is important to recognise the exceptional work they are doing. Women make a tremendous contribution to farming and by shining a spotlight in their direction, we can champion them as role models, encouraging more women to enter into this field and challenge the notion that the farming industry is a man’s world. “It never fails to amaze me how women involved in farming manage to accomplish so much. If not farmers in their own right, many have set up alternative enterprises as farm incomes have fallen. Their contribution, determination and motivation is inspiring,” she said. The winner of the NFU Cymru / Principality Building Society Wales Woman Farmer of the Year 2014/15 competition will receive £500 and the two runners up £100. The closing date is Monday, 16 June 2014. If you are interested in entering or nominating someone for the competition, please contact NFU Cymru in Builth Wells for an application form. Telephone: 01982 554200 or email: sarah.jones@nfu. org.uk or download a copy from the website: www.nfu-cymru.org.uk To celebrate the award coming of age NFU Cymru is inviting all previous winners to attend an 18th birthday party which will be held on the Thursday of this year’s Royal Welsh Show to coincide with the announcement of this year’s Award winner.

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Farming

Value of hedges in storing carbon below ground studied in soil project

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THE ROLE hedges play in capturing carbon and storing it in soils is being investigated as Farming Connect gathers soil samples from across Wales in an initiative that will provide important benchmarking data for farmers.

Data collection for the second year of the Welsh Soil Project is underway, and this time soil samples have also been taken from land within a metre from field hedges, in addition to within-field samples.

Dr Non Williams, Farming Connect’s Carbon Specialist Officer, said the aim is to compare soil carbon stocks within fields and under woody vegetation.

“We often get questions from farmers about this, and we hope that the results of this project will provide them with the answers,’’ she said.

“Estimating the soil carbon levels by hedges will help to highlight their importance for climate change mitigation.’’

Farmers have a key role to play in tackling climate change and soils can play an important part in that.

The Welsh Soil Project samples are being analysed ahead of Wales Climate Week in December.

Over 1,000 samples were taken from farms that are a part of Farming Connect’s Our Farms Network, which were then analysed for organic matter content and bulk density, as well as other measurements.

For uniformity, all samples were collected within the same period this autumn and from grass fields including permanent pasture, hay and silage fields, and reseeds.

“This project looks at how varying management intensities, along with geographical factors, are impacting soil carbon stocks across Wales.”

Soil was taken from multiple depths, from the top 10cm layer to a depth of 50cm.

Dr Williams, who is leading the project, is a speaker at a major soil science event in Belfast in December.

At the British Society of Soil Science and the Soil Science Society of Ireland Annual Conference, she will deliver a presentation on the preliminary results of the project.

Soil carbon and carbon in general are also themes at three Farming Connect Masterclasses taking place in February 2024.

Dr Williams, who will lead these workshops, said it will give farmers an opportunity to improve their understanding of the basics of carbon footprinting prior to carrying out a carbon audit for their farms.

“These interactive workshops will focus on breaking down the carbon jargon, allow farmers to learn about the significance of the carbon cycle to their farm, and how it can be influenced to help reduce the farm’s carbon footprint in the future,’’ she said.

The events will take place at Llety Cynin, St Clears, Carmarthenshire, on 6 February, at Elephant and Castle, Newtown, on 8 February, and at Nanhoron Arms Hotel, Nefyn on 20 February, all from 7.30pm to 9pm.

Further details on how to book a place can be found on the Farming Connect website.

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Farming

Time to ‘protect Welsh farming from the Welsh Government’ – Gwlad Gwlad

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GWYN WIGLEY EVANS, leader of Gwlad Gwlad, the Welsh Independence Party that believes in a working economy (www.gwlad.org) has spoken out on the threat not just to Welsh farming but the lives of Welsh farmers posed by the Welsh Government’s new Habitat Wales scheme.

Gwyn Wigley Evans explained the impact of the scheme: “The Welsh Government’s new scheme will reduce farmers to badly paid environmental managers. It is equivalent to planting trees on rugby pitches and still expecting games of rugby. The former farmers will see incomes fall by 50 to 90%. Each family farm supports 7 businesses within 20 miles. They can all expect massive reductions.”

Gwyn Evans has direct engagement with the social impact of difficulties in rural communities. He has been a Samaritan and CRUSE (Bereavement Counselling) counsellor for 23 years. Addressing his remarks to Lesley Griffiths, the Welsh Government Rural Affairs Minister, he pointed out “This policy will leave blood on the Welsh Government’s hands. The Samaritans, DPJ, Tir Dewi are going to be busy. This policy will pull the trigger on the guns. The effects of the Habitat Wales scheme will clear the environment of people as deliberately as the Highland Clearances.”

When addressing actions to follow he said “Plaid Cymru is no use to Welsh Farmers. They support Mark Drakeford’s Rural Affairs policies meeting the goals of London Labour environmentalists not Welsh Farmers. Gwlad Gwlad will hold a meeting at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair in Builth Wells on 27 November 2023 to focus on how to resist the worst impacts of the Habitat Wales scheme.Exports of Food and Drink were worth £797m to the Welsh economy in 2022 and are growing faster than the UK as a whole.

The world is full of small countries which have powered ahead, economically and socially, since achieving their independence. Gwlad Gwlad believes that Wales should be one of them: a prosperous, successful independent country enjoying good relations with its neighbours and comfortable in its own skin.

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Farming

Leader of Welsh Lib Dems visits Carmarthenshire farm to highlight farmers concerns

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LAST WEEK (Nov 16) the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds MS visited Blaencennan farm in Llangadog to highlight issues affecting common land farmers in Wales.

During the visit, the following issues were raised:

-Concerns around the Habitat Wales Scheme.

-The importance of Welsh communities and the Welsh language and how the farming industry ties into that.

-The willingness of farmers to diversify their businesses.

-Commonland farming being included in the Universal payments in the Sustainable Farming Scheme.

-Ensuring that land is being farmed and not just being left, with non-grazed dry land presenting a potential fire risk.

Mrs Dodds also welcomed on the visit the Rural Affairs Minister for Wales Lesley Griffiths MS, as well as representatives from the National Farmers Union.

Commenting, Jane Dodds MS said: “It was a pleasure to visit Blaencennan farm today alongside the Minister Lesley Griffiths MS and representatives from the National Farmers Union.

Many farmers across Wales are being faced with an uncertain future and they desperately need our support.

My hope from this visit is that the concerns of the farming community are listened to and acted upon.

The Habitat Wales scheme is laden with pitfalls caused by incorrect mapping of farmland areas and a considerable low compensation offer to farmers that will leave them worse off.

If we are going to be serious about the creation of a sustainable farming model, then it is vital that we fix these errors before the scheme is launched.

It is clear to see that farmers want to do the right thing by helping the environment and by working together we can bring a brighter and greener future for Wales.”

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