Agricultural Policy

FUW launches call for action on carbon trading

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has launched its call for action on carbon trading, to ensure that Wales’ family farms are part of the solution to achieving Net Zero instead of a casualty of carbon offsetting by powerful players.

In order to limit global warming to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels, countries and companies across the world have been racing to pledge their own ‘net-zero’ targets or claims.

This has led to a surge in individuals and businesses seeking to offset their carbon
emissions via the Voluntary Carbon Market. Consequently, an increasing number of farms in Wales are being purchased by companies in order to plant trees and offset their own emissions, or sell the associated carbon credits in the future.

To address these concerns, the FUW has compiled a list of 10 recommendations;

Welsh Government publishes recommendations to increase renewable energy production

The Welsh Government has recently published its recommendations to increase renewable energy production in Wales following a ‘deep dive’ exercise.

In 2017, the Welsh Government announced a target of meeting 70 percent of Wales’ electricity demand from Welsh renewable electricity sources by 2030. By 2019, 51 percent of the electricity consumed in Wales was generated from renewable energy sources, up from 19 percent in 2014 and 50 percent in 2018.

However, the abolition of Feed in Tariffs in 2019 has led to a significant slowdown in on-farm investment into renewable energy sources, consequently weakening the environmental benefits associated with private initiatives and diminishing the momentum of reaching Welsh Government’s 2030 target.

Their latest report sets out 21 overarching recommendations on Strategy; Grid; Consenting, licensing and supporting advisory arrangements; Finance; Opportunities to scale up Community and Local Energy in Wales; Opportunities to maximise Economic and Social value in Wales; and Innovation.

New market for UK lamb another step in the right direction

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently confirmed that the amended ‘small ruminant rule’ will come into force on 3rd January 2022 which will allow UK lamb to enter the US market after decades of restrictions.

It is predicted that this will supply a market of more than 300 million people and be worth £37 million over the first five years (£7.4 million per year) for the UK industry. According to Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales’ (HCC) market research, it could include “a significant demand for high-quality lamb cuts.”

During the first nine months of 2021 alone, the UK exported a total of £303 million worth of lamb, £288 million (95 percent) of which was to the European Union (EU).

Given the statistics, the FUW has long maintained the importance of frictionless free trade between the UK and EU for agricultural commodity markets, and highlighted the same point in response to the opening up of the Japanese market for UK producers in January 2019 which was predicted to be worth £52 million for lamb over five years (£10.4 million per year).

News in brief December 2021

i) UK Government refuses Welsh impact assessment of Australia trade deal

In response to the Welsh Affairs Committee’s report on the impact of the UK - Australia trade deal for Wales, the UK Government has confirmed that the draft text will be shared with the devolved Governments.

However, the UK Government rejected the Committee’s recommendation that the Department for International Trade publish a Wales-specific impact assessment on the grounds that it is already provided in the UK-wide assessment.

ii) CEBR predicts rising prices in Supermarkets this Christmas

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has warned of a more expensive Christmas shop this year due to higher fuel and energy prices, supply issues and labour shortages.

Compared with December 2020, the typical UK family is predicted to spend £33.60 more per week due to inflation, however, many supermarkets are trying to absorb the increased costs over Christmas in order to retain customers.

iii) New HCC report analyses outlook for the UK sheep sector

A new report by Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) has revealed that the throughput of lambs from the 2021 crop is 12.7 percent lower than 2020 levels and 10.9 percent below 2019.

However, the report also predicts that the current prices - averaging around 20 percent above last year’s levels - may continue due to high retail demand. This is also helped by the fact that New Zealand lamb production is down by around 4 percent year on year.

Pembrokeshire dairy farmer recognised with special dairy award by FUW

Pembrokeshire dairy farmer, Dai Miles, who farms just outside of Haverfordwest has been selected as the winner of the 2021 Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) award for the person who has made an outstanding contribution to the Welsh Dairy industry.

The award recognises an individual who has made a great contribution and has become an integral part of the dairy industry in Wales. The judges were impressed with the contributions Mr Miles has made and continues to make to the dairy industry.

Dai Miles grew up in Felin Fach near Lampeter and attended Aberaeron Comprehensive school. Not from a farming family, Dai started his farming career by attending the Welsh Agricultural College in Aberystwyth where he received a National Diploma in Agriculture and completed a sandwich year at Godor Nantgaredig.

After college he spent five years as a herdsman of 160 cows at Waun Fawr, Glynarthen, Llandysul and then a further five years at IGER Trawscoed working as a relief herdsman between the two dairy herds, Lodge Farm and the organic herd at Ty Gwyn before taking the brave step to take a tenancy on his own.