Expression of Interest Window Dates June 2021

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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:

Farming Connect Training Window

The next funding application window for training is now open and will close on Friday 25 June 2021.

Those registering for the first time during the above skills window in order to apply for a funded training course or need to update their account details, please contact Farming Connect before 17:00 Monday 21 June 2021.

More information can be found here.

25 June 2021
Farm Business Grant - Yard Coverings

The second round of the Farm Business Grant - Yard Coverings scheme opened on 18th May and will close on 25th June 2021.

The Farm Business Grant Yard Coverings scheme seeks to support farmers to improve their current infrastructure for yard coverings - covering feeding areas, slurry pits, silage stores etc - where rainwater can be separated.

Local FUW County Executive Officers will be able to explain the scheme requirements to members. FUW staff will not be able to complete the Expression of Interest on behalf of members due to the technical requirements.

Further information and guidance is available on the Welsh Government website.

25 June 2021
Glastir Woodland Restoration  

The 9th Expression of Interest window is now open for the Glastir Woodland Restoration scheme.

GWR provides capital works for restocking, fencing and associated operations on sites containing larch and up to 50% non-larch species.

Applicants will have to submit their supporting felling licence or felling licence application when expressing an interest. Welsh Government will not consider any documents that were submitted in a previous GWR window.

See here for further information and to express an interest.

25 June 2021
Glastir Small Grants Landscape and Pollinators  

The current window of the Glastir Small Grants Landscape and Pollinators scheme opened on 18th May and will close on 25th June 2021.

The is a programme of capital works available to farming businesses across Wales to carry out projects that will help to improve and maintain traditional landscape features, and provide habitat linkage for pollinating insects.

Further information can be found on the Welsh Government website.

25 June 2021
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.
Nuffield Farming Scholarships Applications for the 2021 Nuffield Farming Scholarships are open.

Successful applicants tend to be from those working in farming, food or horticulture and are provided a substantial bursary to fund travel to study their chosen topic.

Further information and details on how to apply can be found here:
31 July 2021

FUW expressed major concerns over UK - Australia free trade deal talks

The repercussions of a breach or renegotiation of a trade deal are extreme due to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules and international law, meaning that, once signed, a trade deal effectively binds the current and future UK Governments to its terms.

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has therefore expressed major concerns in response to recent reports saying that the terms offered by the UK Government Department of International Trade for a UK - Australia trade deal could significantly increase the volume of food produced in Australia that can be imported into the UK tariff-free.

The EU’s previous agreement with Australia allowed 7,150 tonnes of beef and 19,186 tonnes of lamb to be imported into EU countries, but following Brexit the quota was split, allowing Australia to import 3,761 of beef and 13,335 tonnes of lamb into the UK.
The UK Government is attempting to defend the phasing out of this quota on the grounds that current import volumes from Australia are below this low quota and are unlikely to rise.

Yet this begs the question why Australia is fighting hard for such access during negotiations if they do not think they will increase exports to the UK. In fact, numerous Australian sources have confirmed that the UK is a major target for expanding their exports, with their biggest beef exporter predicting a ten-fold increase in exports to the UK.

It is clear that the Welsh and British public is opposed to opening the flood-gates to food produced to lower standards in other countries, and the FUW fully supports those in Defra who are fighting such proposals.

FUW will continue to lobby for bespoke Welsh policies now and in the future

Regarded as having been one of the most crucial elections for the future of the agricultural sector in Wales, the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) left no stone unturned in its efforts to stress the importance of various policy areas to future decision makers ahead of the Welsh Senedd 2021 Elections.

FUW President Glyn Roberts and Deputy President Ian Rickman met with the agricultural leads of the key political parties during the run-up to the elections to highlight the main industry concerns and the Union’s Key Manifesto Asks.

These meetings provided the opportunity to emphasise the importance of the next Government to committing to Stability, Family Farms, Supporting Rural Communities and Welsh Jobs, Sustainable Agriculture and Rewarding Environmental Outcomes while designing the Welsh Agricultural Act, the same key areas the FUW and NFU Cymru jointly outlined in the post-Brexit Welsh Way Forward document.

In addition, the Agriculture Bill White Paper proposals were discussed at length due to their far reaching consequences to the Welsh agricultural industry and its long term viability. Furthermore, the NVZ regulations, tree planting pledges, the parties commitments to ring fencing the agricultural budget, Bovine TB, the disappointing lack of commitment to place a cap on payment thresholds and the potential complexity of a public goods scheme were discussed.

Menter a Busnes secured funding for Wales Farm Safety Partnership

Menter a Busnes has secured funding to work alongside the Wales Farm Safety Partnership (WFSP) to raise awareness of farm safety and reduce the number of incidents on Welsh farms.

Since 2021, the WFSP has involved a collaboration of agricultural Stakeholders, including the Farmer’s Union of Wales (FUW), working together to raise awareness of farm safety and promote good practice to achieve reductions in the number of death and serious injury incidences on farms.

Of the major industrial sectors, agriculture has the highest rate of fatal worker injury per 100,000 workers. According to figures from the Health and Safety Executive report, there were 3 fatal injuries within agriculture, forestry and fishing in 2019/2020 across Wales, a total of 21 across Great Britain.

While it is positive to note that the number of fatal injuries is reducing, the award of £69,000 will allow Menter a Busnes and the WFSP to continue this downward trend.

A dedicated Health and Safety Officer will be appointed and further advice and guidance will be made available in conjunction with the Health and Safety Executive.

The FUW welcomes the additional funding and initiatives and will continue to work with Menter a Busnes and the WFSP alongside Farm Safety Ambassadors Mr Alun Elidyr and Mr Glyn Davies to promote farm safety.

Digital connectivity survey highlights digital urban-rural divide

A survey on digital connectivity has highlighted a gaping hole between urban and rural areas when it comes to access and stability of broadband and mobile phone reception.

The survey, run by the National Federation of Women's Institutes-Wales, CLA, Farmers’ Union of Wales, NFU Cymru and Wales YFC, showed that over 50% of respondents from a rural area felt that the internet they had access to was not fast and reliable.

Indeed, less than 50% of those who lived in rural areas stated they had standard broadband and only 36% had superfast broadband, with 66% stating that they or their household had been impacted by poor broadband. In comparison, 18% of their urban counterparts said they had access to standard broadband and 67% had superfast broadband.

Whilst 80% of participants used their mobile phone to access the internet, just 68% of those with a smartphone had access to a 4G or 5G mobile network. Describing the mobile signal in their house, 57% of those from a rural area stated that their signal was ‘unreliable’ and 49% of those from a rural area stated that their signal was ‘unreliable’ outdoors.

News in Brief May 2021

i) New Chair of Hybu Cig Cymru sets out priorities

Mrs Catherine Smith, recently elected Chair of Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), has set out the Board’s priorities for the next financial year.

The reform of levy monies to be paid to the respective levy board of where the animal was reared rather than slaughtered as part of the UK Agricultural Bill will play a big part in the work of HCC during the next year, although collaborative work between the UK levy bodies will continue.

It will allow for the great work to continue on consumer engagement and brand building to increase the sale of red meat, and promoting the environmental credentials of lamb and beef production in Wales ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow later this year.

ii) Arwain Vet Cymru project leads the way on responsible use of antibiotics

The Arwain Vet Cymru project, launched in November 2019 to train and support a national network of Veterinary Prescribing Champions (VPCs) across Wales to promote the responsible use of antibiotics in livestock, has become the blueprint for a similar UK-wide initiative, Farm Vet Champions.

The two year project in Wales is supported by Welsh Government and funded by the Rural Development programme to work towards the Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in Animals and the Environment Implementation Plan (2019-2024). To date, 39 VPCs who undertake farm work have enrolled onto the project with 37 having already created bespoke antibiotic action plans.

iii) New CEO at British Wool

The Board of British Wool has recently appointed their Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Andrew Hogley, as permanent CEO.

Mr Hogley stepped up as Acting CEO in November of 2020 from Director of Wool Sales and Producer Services at British Wool. British Wool will continue to face many challenges as they recover from the impacts of the pandemic which saw a collapse in the global wool market and farmers receiving no more than 17 pence per kilogram for their wool.

Gwaredu BVD extended until the end of 2022

Following a reprofiling of the Gwaredu BVD programme, the FUW has welcomed the announcement that support for all herd screening will continue to be available until the 31st December 2022.

BVD continues to cost the average beef herd approximately £4,500 per year and £15,000 for dairy.

Since the programme’s launch in 2017, the programme has screened over 8,600 Welsh cattle herds for BVD free of charge. Currently, there are:

  • 1,218 herds achieving gold status (3 or more negative tests)
  • 1,178 herds achieving silver status (2 negative tests)
  • 3,759 herds achieving bronze status (1 negative test)

With the extension, farmers will be eligible for two further herd screenings with the opportunity to achieve gold status. It is recommended that screens are kept at least 10 months apart.

From the 8,600 herds, approximately 26% have tested positive and the Gwaredu BVD Team will continue to work the those farmers and their vets to identify the persistently infected (PI) animals within those herds.

Under the extension, funding for PI hunts will continue as before. The total available for funding remains at £1,000 + VAT, including a £100 vet fee and £900 testing fee. Those herds that have tested positive and already applied for an initial £500 PI hunt will be eligible to apply for the additional £500 if any further PI hunting is required.

New UK disease reporting requirements

The UK Government introduced new disease reporting requirements on 21st April 2021 in order to comply with the EU’s new Animal Health Regulation.

Whilst the UK has left the EU and there is no requirements to implement the new Animal Health Regulation in the UK, the UK Government has had to make legislative changes in order to continue to trade with the EU as a Third Country and to allow the movement of live animals, products of animal origin and germinal products from Great Britain to the EU and Northern Ireland.

The EU Animal Health Regulation includes the requirement for all terrestrial diseases listed under the regulation to be notifiable in Third Countries which export live animals into the EU. The list includes 15 diseases that were not notifiable or reportable in GB until now.

Five diseases will be notifiable on clinical suspicion or positive laboratory detection and nine
diseases must be reported on detection at the place of analysis.

The reporting requirements to the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) depend on the specific disease; some as soon as possible, some others will require monthly reporting, and others including BVD will depend on the genotype.

Please see below for the full list of diseases and requirements:

New disease requirements from 21st April 2021

APHA to use whole genome sequencing for TB

The Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) has begun to routinely use TB whole genome sequencing (WGS) for the genetic typing of M. bovis. This technique has replaced the use of genotyping and can better differentiate between the strain of TB bacterium and identify where they have come from.

The technique known as genotyping was able to characterise M. bovis into different strains which tend to be geographically localised. The technique of WGS can go a step further in determining the entire DNA sequences of M. Bovis and therefore provide a greater degree of certainty about the origin of TB infection in a herd.

Most importantly, it will allow for the APHA to investigate TB breakdowns and possible transmission pathways between cattle herds, and help vets further understand how TB spreads locally and nationally.

For further information about WGS, visit the TB Hub:

Update from the Ruminant Health and Welfare Group

The cattle and sheep health and welfare groups have merged to form the new Ruminant Health and Welfare Group (RHWG) to provide one voice for the health and welfare of ruminants in the UK and to include goats and deer in the future.

The group first met in September 2020 with Ms Kate Hovers, veterinary surgeon based in Mid Wales, representing the FUW.

Whilst the group includes numerous industry Stakeholders, it will maintain as an independent body focussing on maintaining and improving ruminant health and welfare with a focus on tackling endemic diseases.

Alongside the bi-monthly meetings of the group, Wales hosted the first ‘four nations’ meeting which focussed on the work done in Wales in active health planning.

The group has recently discussed the proposals for rearing dairy bull calves and a new device called Numnuts. Numnuts is a device licenced for use in Australia for the castration and tailing of lambs and calves which involves a controlled injection of local anaesthetic before applying the rubber ring.

Currently, the use of this device is prohibited in the UK as there are no licenses available for the use of local anaesthetic in sheep, however, the RHW group has recently written to the
Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) to request for such a licence to be made available.

Please find more information on the RHWG website and raise any particular diseases or animal health and welfare concerns with your local FUW Animal Health and Welfare Committee delegate.

HCC Hill Ram Scheme in search for commercial flocks

Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales Hill Ram Scheme is searching for commercial hill flocks in Wales to join the genetic improvement scheme that aims to compare the performance of two rams on a selected group of monitored hill ewes.

The scheme enables farmers to compare two rams by monitoring the performance of their lambs and ewes which can allow them to select for the best genetics for their flock in the future.

The farmers and their flocks will receive support through the Hill Ram Scheme team at relevant times and will receive training to assist with the work and activity required for the recording.

More information on the Hill Ram Scheme and the expression of interest form can be found here:

The current expression of interest window closes on 21st May 2021.