NAAC Code of Practice for mobile sheep dipping launched

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has supported the National Association of Agricultural Contractors’ (NAAC) work, in collaboration with the Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep (SCOPS), to produce a new Code of Practice for the mobile dipping of sheep.

Sheep scab is prevalent in around a quarter of Welsh sheep flocks and costs the industry around £12 million every year.

The FUW worked with the Sheep Scab Industry Group to submit an industry-led sheep scab report to Welsh Government in 2018 which recognised the need for coordinated treatment across contiguous premises and outlined a sheep scab control programme which would increase the likelihood of neighbouring farms working together to eradicate scab through a more holistic and workable approach.

Despite a free pilot scheme for the testing of skin scrape samples, the industry is yet to receive the promised £5.1 million for an eradication programme from more than 2 years ago.

NADIS resources available via FUW website

FUW members are reminded that resources from the National Animal Disease Information Service (NADIS) are available on the members’ section of the FUW website.

Every month, there are new animal health related webinars, risk assessments and sheep and cattle bulletins uploaded for FUW members to easily access here: https://www.fuw.org.uk/en/members/nadis

For August:
Webinar - Ewe nutrition pre tupping to early pregnancy
Risk Assessment - Sheep liver fluke
Sheep Bulletin - Trace element deficiencies
Cattle Bulletin - Abortion

FCN seeking new volunteers across Wales

The Farming Community Network (FCN) Cymru is seeking new volunteers across Powys, Ceredigion, Monmouthshire, Pembrokeshire and North Wales to meet a growing demand for supporting farming communities during uncertain times.

FCN operates a confidential helpline on 03000 111 999, open from 7am until 11pm 365 days a year and last year launched its new FarmWell Wales and FarmWell Cymru platforms offering useful information on topics such as succession for farmers in Wales.

They have also recently launched their Rural+ training modules in collaboration with The DPJ Foundation and National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs to help support the next generation of farmers manage their own mental health as well as support others within the farming sector.

Each year, the FCN helps approximately 6,000 people.

If you would like to find out more about volunteering with FCN, please visit their website here: https://fcn.org.uk/volunteering-for-fcn/

Welsh Government Woodland Investment Grant Scheme

The Woodland Investment Grant (TWIG) Scheme is now open for applications from landowners and those who have full management control of land.

The scheme provides 100% grants to enhance and expand existing woodlands and to create new woodlands as part of the future ‘National Forest’.

The woodland must have an element of public access or community engagement to be eligible and funding through this grant can be combined with Glastir Woodland Creation or private investment.

Eligible capital items range from the purchase of trees, site preparations such as fencing, tools and small scale equipment for project delivery i.e. consultancy fees.

Applications must be made by 27th August 2021 via RPW Online and necessary consents or permissions, such as environmental impact assessments or planning permission, need to be in place before applying.

Survey on different grazing practices for sheep and cattle

ADAS, on behalf of Defra, is conducting a short survey on the different grazing practices being adopted by sheep and cattle farmers across the UK.

The survey results will help characterise the various grazing systems and understand the barriers and enablers of adopting new techniques such as rotational or paddock grazing.

For each survey completed, ADAS will donate £2 to the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) up to a maximum of £500.

More information and the survey can be found here: https://adas-survey.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/cattle-and-sheep-grazing-practices-survey-final

Farming Connect launches monthly TV programme

Farming Connect has launched a dedicated half an hour, monthly TV programme for farmers and foresters in Wales on YouTube.

The programme will focus on best practice, compliance and efficiency by demonstrating how some of the best farms in Wales, including some of Farming Connect’s demonstration farms, are preparing for a sustainable and profitable future.

It will feature a mix of dairy, beef and sheep farms from across Wales as well as systems that are utilising new innovation and technology and some that have diversified the farm business to generate additional income.

While themes such as infrastructure, innovation and diversification have been scheduled for July, August and September respectively, future episodes will focus on broader topics such as animal health and grassland management.

Every new episode will be uploaded on the FCTV YouTube channel on the last Monday of every month: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxYH2RRebW271MBuNfbSRgQ

North Wales Police Community Alert System online

North Wales Police has launched a new community alert system which allows the communities of North Wales to keep up to date with localised police news.

The system has been funded as part of the Home Office Safer Streets Fund and is currently used in other UK police forces with positive results.

It aims to keep communities up to date with how the police force is dealing with particular issues and make people feel safer in their areas.

Individuals can receive updates on news, alerts, appeals, engagement events and general policing activities via email, text or voice message without needing an internet connection. It also acts as another platform for communities to provide comments or concerns to the police force.

To find more information and register for free, please visit: https://www.northwalescommunityalert.co.uk/

Expression of Interest Window Dates August 2021

Scheme Summary Window Close
Farm Business Grant

A new Farm Business Grant EOI window will open on 1st September 2021 with a budget of £2 million from remaining RDP funds.

Farmers will be able to receive support to invest in new technology and equipment to improve the farm performance.

Further information can be found here: https://gov.wales/farm-business-grant

 1st September - 1st October 2021
Farming Connect What’s On

As a result of the pandemic, Farming Connect has taken the decision to postpone all open events and one-to-many events until further notice. They are conducting a number of activities digitally or over the phone where possible.

More information can be found here:
https://businesswales.gov.wales/farmingconnect/whats-on

 
Farming Connect ICT Programme  Farming Connect is now offering ICT training courses for beginners and intermediate learners.

One-to-one sessions and online workshops are also available on integrating ICT technology into your farm business

To book, please contact Lantra on 01982 552646 or Mae'r cyfeiriad e-bost hwn wedi'i warchod rhag robotiaid sbam. Rhaid i chi alluogi JavaScript i'w weld.

Further information can be found here.
 
Rural Business Investment Scheme Non Agricultural - Window 2

This window of the RBIS has been allocated a budget of £2 million and covers capital investments costs and supports project in Wales that contribute to at least one of the below:

  • the diversification of the rural economy, 
  • the development of the supply chain for natural products, 
  • increasing the productivity, efficiency and competitiveness of rural businesses. 
  • The scheme is open to existing and start up Non-agricultural micro and small enterprises including farmers or members of the farm household diversifying into non-agricultural activities.

Applicants will be required to demonstrate that a viable market has been identified for  their product(s) and that the project would not proceed without the grant.

The maximum grant rate for any individual investment project is 40% of the total costs.

The maximum grant threshold per undertaking for any individual investment project is £50,000, and the minimum is £5,000

Further information and how to apply can be found here: https://gov.wales/rural-business-investment-scheme-non-agriculture 

20 August 2021

Farming Connect Training Application Window

The next Farming Connect training application window will open on 6th September and will close on 29th October 2021.

Those registering for the first time in order to apply for a funded training course or that need to update their account details, please contact Farming Connect before 17:00 25th October 2021.

More information will be available shortly on the Farming Connect website: https://businesswales.gov.wales/farmingconnect/

6th September - 29th October 2021

Welsh Government sets out plans to increase tree planting targets

In a recent written statement by Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Climate Change, it was revealed that Welsh Government is planning to increase tree planting targets to 5,000 hectares per year. Welsh Government's previous targets were 2,000 hectares per year, rising to 4,000ha as soon as possible.

According to the Minister, Wales needs to plant 180,000 hectares by 2050 in line with the recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). Last year only 290ha of woodland was planted in Wales. The Deputy Minister called this a ‘call to arms’ in order to meet climate change commitments, as well as provide a wide range of other benefits to Wales.

A Trees Task Force has also found that “current Welsh Government funding for tree planting has been too inconsistent and difficult to access. While it is important to ensure that new woodland is planted in the right places and in the right way, the process for doing this is too slow and bureaucratic”

Welsh Government believes that these revised targets will be met by communities, farmers and other landowners across Wales, as opposed to new woodland planted by the Welsh Government.

Over the next two years, the Minister has committed £17 million to new windows of the Glastir Woodland Creation scheme, and a new Woodland for Wales Action Plan will be launched later this year.

EU farmers set to gain competitive advantage over UK producers

Concerns that divergence between agricultural policies and funding in the UK and EU will give EU farmers a competitive advantage have been consistently highlighted by the FUW for the past five years - and in light of the latest EU CAP reforms, other commentators are now echoing these concerns according to the Farmers Weekly.

As part of a framework that was agreed by policy makers in Brussels on 25th June, EU member states will be given greater flexibility when it comes to supporting farmers under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), once it has been enshrined into law.

While the new five-year CAP period commences on 1st January 2023, European Governments will have to submit their own national strategic plans for meeting new CAP objectives by the end of 2021.

As part of this CAP reform, Member states will still be able to pay active farmers with direct payments using £163 billion (around 70%) of the total CAP budget.

However, at least 25% of the direct payments budget - around £41 billion - will be set aside for voluntary ‘eco schemes’, including organic farming, agroecology and pest management.

Welsh Government pledges to maintain BPS funding for 2022

The Welsh Government has pledged to maintain the same budget for the 2022 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) year.

This was confirmed by Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Rural Affairs, North Wales and Trefnydd, in response to a question from Cefin Campbell MS, Plaid Cymru rural affairs spokesman.

However, the commitment that farmers will be paid at the same rate as in 2019 remains subject to the funding the Welsh Government receives from the UK Government, which will be announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review in the autumn.

Mr Campbell also highlighted that around 40% of the £838 million budget for the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme remains unspent, however, the Minister responded saying she remains confident that the remaining £362 million would be spent before the December 2023 deadline.

The FUW is urging the Welsh Government to announce its decision on the extension of Glastir contracts as soon as possible given that around a quarter of Welsh farmers rely on such agri-environment schemes for support to protect and enhance the environment.