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NFU responds to EU departure



High standards must not be undermined: NFU-Cymru warns on future trade deals

NFU CYMRU has responded to the UK’s departure from the EU.
NFU Cymru President John Davies said: “The 31st January marks our departure from the EU in legal terms and we will now enter a transition period. During the transition, we will remain in the EU’s single market and customs union, and so for that time, we will continue to be able to trade with the EU27 in just the same way as we did before we ceased to be a member state. I am not, therefore, expecting Wales’ farmers to experience any significant changes overnight, particularly given that we will also remain bound by the vast bulk of EU law during the transition.
“The Prime Minister has set himself the ambitious deadline of concluding a Free Trade Agreement with the EU27 by the end of 2020. It is essential that whatever agreement the UK Government reaches with the EU27, that it delivers the most favourable access possible for Welsh farmers to European markets, with tariff and non-tariff barriers eliminated wherever possible.
“We know that the transition period ends by default on 31st December 2020, although this transition can be extended by up to two years through a joint decision of the UK and the EU27 taken before 1st July 2020. However long the transition, we must avoid a situation whereby it elapses without having reached an agreement on a future trading relationship with the EU, as we know that that will mean we end up trading with our largest, most valuable export market on WTO terms, which means huge tariffs on our produce.
“For the first time in almost half a century, the UK will be able to take steps to pursue an independent trade policy, something which we could not do as an EU Member State. Whilst this new-found ability does present us with opportunities, I want to urge politicians to exercise a degree of caution here and to heed what we have been saying clearly and consistently around standards. We cannot allow a situation to arise whereby our high standards are undermined by imports produced to environmental or animal welfare standards which would be illegal in this country. Wales’ farmers must be allowed to compete on a level playing field after Brexit.
“Although Brexit will potentially open up new markets for us, we must not lose sight of the importance and value of the EU27, to which almost three-quarters of Welsh food and drink exports go. Therefore, before we turn to consider trade with third countries, we need to ensure that we have secured the most favourable possible access to the market on our doorstep.”
Commenting on developments closer to home, Mr Davies added: “Brexit does, of course, present us with the opportunity to pursue our own arrangements for agricultural support and, earlier this month, Welsh Government confirmed that it will be opting to introduce its own legislation in the National Assembly in due course to allow it to operate new policies for farmers in Wales post-Brexit. Just as I have urged the UK Government to take the time needed to get things right when it comes to trade, I make the same appeal of the Welsh Government when it comes to developing future agricultural policy.
“Crucial to any future agricultural support policy, of course, is funding, and I was pleased to have confirmation from the UK Government at the end of last year that current levels of support will be maintained for 2020. The UK Conservative Government made a manifesto commitment ahead of the General Election to guarantee the annual budget for farmers for the next five years, and we are pleased that Welsh Government has made commitments to ring-fence the funding it receives from Westminster for Welsh farming.
“Funding is crucial to help ensure that Welsh farming can continue to deliver and grow on its unparalleled contribution to the economy, environment, culture and social well-being of Wales. We need a long term funding arrangement to meet our ambition to further grow the food and farming sector whilst maintaining and enhancing our environment and delivering on our target of making the sector a net-zero emitter of greenhouse gases by 2040
“As a Union, NFU Cymru looks forward to working with politicians in Cardiff to devise a ‘Made in Wales’ policy which delivers against our three cornerstones of productivity, stability and environment to realise our ambition of a productive, progressive and profitable Welsh agricultural sector.
“In the nearer term, I am pleased that our Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths AM has signified her intention to maintain the BPS for 2020 and 2021, thus providing the sector with some much-needed stability at this uncertain time.”

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Government won’t be able to blame Brussels



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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Young hill farmer stars in £250,000 campaign



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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FUW reminds members about SAF



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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