Farming Community warned of targeted fraud attacks

Dyfed-Powys Police is advising the farming community to be extremely wary of any suspicious calls, texts or emails as a scam specifically targeting the agricultural sector has been identified.

During December farmers start to receive payments through the SFP (Single Farm Payment). Information about the payments is publically available, meaning criminals are able to directly target victims making their approaches appear more convincing.

The scam communications will typically claim that fraud has been detected on the farmer’s bank account and that urgent action is required to safeguard funds.

The victim is then persuaded to divulge personal or financial information, or even to transfer money directly into a so-called ‘safe account’.

With some grants worth thousands of pounds, in past years fraudsters have stolen significant amounts of money from their victims. 

UK Government’s decision to slash Wales’ agricultural budget branded a ‘Brexit betrayal’

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has branded the UK Government’s decision to slash Wales’ agricultural budget as a ‘Brexit betrayal’, after chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed in Wednesday’s (November 25) spending review that the budget would be cut by at least £95 million for the coming financial year.

Following a 2019 Conservative Manifesto promise, the Wales’ agricultural and rural development budget was expected to have been £337 million, but the 2021-2022 budget will now be £242 million - a cut of around 28% - while the full loss when projected RDP spend and the 15% pillar transfer is taken into account is £137m.

The announcement came two days after the three devolved governments (Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) wrote jointly to Defra Secretary George Eustice urging him to provide assurances that the budget for agriculture would be maintained, and almost a fortnight after FUW President Glyn Roberts wrote to Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart asking the same.

“The 2019 Conservative Manifesto stated ‘...we will guarantee the current annual budget to farmers in every year of the next Parliament’, thereby securing the votes of many farmers in Welsh constituencies,” said Mr Roberts.

FUW response to devolved nations' call for clarity on future rural funding

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has responded to the devolved nations’ call for clarity on future rural funding, urging Defra Secretary George Eustice to ensure that previous funding commitments made by the UK Government are honoured.

The response follows the announcement that, ahead of the UK Spending Review, the devolved administrations have written again collectively to the UK Government calling for assurances that all lost EU funding will be fully replaced to provide certainty for the rural economy.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: "We wrote to Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart more than a week ago, copying in Defra Secretary George Eustice and the Chancellor, highlighting concerns that funding for agriculture in Wales could be cut severely in the forthcoming spending review, in direct contradiction to what was promised in the 2019 Conservative Manifesto.

Supporting local businesses now more important than ever, FUW says

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is urging shoppers to keep their Christmas shopping local to show support for rural and local businesses, especially as the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted how vital local shops are.

FUW Deputy President Ian Rickman said: “As we speed towards Christmas, I would urge you to think about your rural businesses and see if you can buy local, either for the upcoming Christmas dinner or even gifts for family and friends. 

“This year we have seen how important the local shops and businesses are. Many of us relied on them to help out with delivering food and other essentials during the lockdowns and now is the time to repay that favour by supporting them.”

Food industry writes to PM urging essential action

The FUW and other key organisations representing Welsh food and drink producers and manufacturers have written an open letter to the Prime Minister highlighting key issues that must be addressed immediately to avoid detrimental impacts to the industry following the end of the EU Withdrawal period.

“The European Union is the largest market for Welsh food and drink businesses to export their goods to, and includes exports of red meat and dairy products worth an estimated £320 million to Wales,” said FUW President Glyn Roberts.

“What happens in the run up to 1st January 2021 is critical to the economic viability of many food, drink and farming businesses and the supply chains and jobs they support,” said FUW President Glyn Roberts. 

The nine organisations which signed the letter comprised the British Meat Processors Association, CLA Cymru, Farmers’ Union of Wales, Food and Drink Federation Cymru, Livestock Auctioneers Association, National Beef Association, NFU Cymru, National Sheep Association Cymru and the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society.

FUW dismayed by WG decision to axe hydropower support

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has reacted with dismay that support for Welsh Hydropower has been axed and is urging the Welsh Government to look for a long term solution to keep the production of hydropower on farms a viable option. 

The FUW has consistently recognised the threat represented by climate change and the need to take action and farmers in Wales have been instrumental in helping achieve a more than five-fold increase in renewable energy production in the past 15 years.

FUW Policy Officer Charlotte Priddy said: “We are dismayed to hear that the Welsh Government has changed their grant scheme to only supporting community owned hydropower projects with their rates bills, a scheme that has previously provided £1m of support to the sector over the last four years. 

FUW discusses perfect storm for mental health with Minister

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has highlighted an array of issues facing the farming community, which if left unaddressed could be the perfect storm for farmers' mental health. In a virtual meeting with Minister for Mental Health, Wellbeing and Welsh Language, Eluned Morgan, Union officials discussed how the combination of Brexit uncertainty, Covid-19 and proposed new farming policies are putting immense pressure on farmers and their mental health.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “We had a very good meeting with Eluned Morgan and we raised many pertinent issues which play on our farmers’ mind. As we all know the problems on farms are plentiful and some can be addressed by talking about them, others however require the Welsh Government to re-evaluate their current and future agricultural policies.” 

Mr Roberts said that the imminent danger of substandard imports arising due to new trade deals, new subsidy schemes which fail to specifically address economic prosperity for rural communities, the lack of preparation for a no-deal scenario at Welsh ports and in other areas, the rapid impact of the coronavirus pandemic on global supply chains and also the increased use of public access which has caused a broad range of problems for our members, all add to the perfect storm that is brewing. 

FUW gives cautious welcome to Welsh Government statement on Simplifying Agricultural Support

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has given a cautious welcome to the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs’ announcement of the outcome of a consultation on simplifying agricultural support in Wales.

The Sustainable Farming and our Land: Simplifying Agricultural Support consultation, which ended on the 23 October 2020, proposed eleven changes to the Basic Payment Scheme and a number of major changes to the principles underpinning the Rural Development Programme.

Responding to the announcement, FUW Deputy President Ian Rickman said: “We welcome the fact that the Welsh Government has accepted many of the concerns we raised, including in terms of impacts for cross border farmers and young farmers.” 

In line with the FUW’s views, the Welsh Government has now agreed to provide a derogation for cross-border farmers with less than 5 hectares of Welsh Land so they can rely on the land they had available in another administration in 2020.

EU and UK must pull out all the stops to avoid economic recklessness of ‘no-deal’ says FUW

With little over six weeks to go before the end of the EU withdrawal period and many areas of agreement reached between the EU and UK in trade negotiations - but the subjects of fisheries and state aid rules still major obstacles to progress as the negotiations reach their final stages - the FUW has urged both the UK and EU to avoid the catastrophe of a no-deal Brexit at all costs.

The call comes a day after Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs George Eustice acknowledged on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show that the sheep sector would face particular challenges in no-deal scenarios due to tariffs on lamb exports to the EU of around 40%, but tried to play the impact down for agricultural sectors.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said “The reality is that failure to reach a trade deal would have a catastrophic impact for our key agricultural sectors that would hit home very quickly, with the sheep industry likely to feel the impact most acutely. It would also cause untold disruption to food and other supply chains and complete anarchy at our ports.”

Mr Roberts said that such a failure would also have devastating impacts for EU businesses, and that it was therefore in both the EU and UK’s interest to ‘pull out all the stops’ to reach a deal.

Royal Assent for Agriculture Bill clears way for dangerous impacts on rural communities says FUW

The Farmers’ Union of Wales says the newly passed Agriculture Act could open the door to devastating impacts on farming and rural communities if the UK Government does not place food security and the wellbeing of farming families and rural communities at the centre of policy development.

The Act, which received Royal Assent yesterday (November 11), outlines how future support for English farmers will be delivered as the UK leaves the EU's Common Agricultural Policy, while also setting out legislation relating to a broad range of agricultural and rural issues of relevance to Wales and the UK - including granting temporary powers to Welsh Ministers until a Welsh Agriculture Bill is brought forward.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “We have welcomed the inclusion in the Act of a requirement for a report to be presented to parliament focusing on the impacts future trade deals could have on agriculture. 

“However, this is certainly not the red line preventing substandard food imports that farmers, environmentalists, animal rights campaigners and millions of members of the general public lobbied for.”

Mr Roberts said that the focus of the Act on ‘public payments for public goods’ was a major concern for FUW cross-border members with land in England.

Take advantage of free sheep scab testing, FUW urges members

News that examination of skin scrape samples from sheep showing suspect clinical signs of sheep scab is being offered free of charge in Wales, by the APHA and funded by the Welsh Government, between 2  November 2020 and  31 March 2021, has been cautiously welcomed by the Farmers’ Union of Wales.

The scheme will aid accurate diagnosis, which is a prerequisite for appropriate treatment and successful control of sheep scab, which is a priority of the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework.

Furthermore, the scheme will also encourage sheep farmers to work with their veterinary surgeon to protect their flocks from sheep scab.  As well as accurate diagnosis for controlling the disease if it occurs, good flock biosecurity is essential to keep it out. 

FUW deputy president Ian Rickman said: “It is extremely disappointing that the industry endorsed programme for the eradication of sheep scab, which was set to receive £5.1million from the Rural Development Programme last year, has been put on ice. 

FUW webinar puts spotlight on Ash Dieback

The Anglesey branch of the Farmers’ Union of Wales is hosting a webinar on Ash Dieback, which is open to all members of the Union. The event will be held on Zoom on Thursday 19 November at 7pm. 

Jacob Milner, Ash Dieback Coordinator for Anglesey County Council will be giving a talk to provide more detail about the symptoms, how to spot the signs, what action to take, and also the landowners responsibilities if they have received a notice from the local authority.

FUW Anglesey County Executive Officer Alaw Jones said: “The disease is being discovered on many trees on the island of Anglesey and there seems to be a big lack of knowledge in how to deal with it. We are therefore encouraging members to join us for this free event to find out all of the essential information needed.” 

To book your place at the webinar, members need to contact the Anglesey County Office on 01248 750 250 or via email on  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Cautious welcome given to UK Government decision to extend Trade and Agriculture Commission role

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has given a cautious welcome to the decision to extend the role of the Trade and Agriculture Commission and place it on a statutory footing, describing it as a welcome step towards addressing concerns over substandard food imports.

The UK government announced on November 1 that it had decided to extend the commission past its previous fixed term and give it a more active role through a new legislative underpinning, to be reviewed every three years.

Under the new plans, the commission will produce a report on the impact on animal welfare and agriculture of any free trade deal negotiated by the UK government after the end of the EU transition period, which will be laid in Parliament before the start of the 21-day scrutiny period under the terms of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act.

The commission was originally set up in July 2020 to provide advice on trade policies the UK Government should adopt to secure opportunities for UK farmers, while ensuring the sector remains competitive and that animal welfare and environmental standards in food production are not undermined, but was due to be disbanded at the end of the year.

Deadline looms for BPS Support Scheme applications, FUW reminds members

Those farmers who have submitted an application for the Basic Payment Scheme via the Single Application Form (SAF) 2020 are being reminded by the Farmers’ Union of Wales, that time to apply for a BPS 2020 Support Scheme payment is running out, with the application window closing on Friday, 27 November.

The scheme will pay a loan of up to 90% of the business’ anticipated BPS claim value from 7 December to successful applicants whose full BPS claim is not processed for payment by 1 December. As this is an opt in scheme, farmers have to apply for the loan through their RPW Online account.

FUW Pembrokeshire CEO Rebecca Voyle said: “It is expected that the loan payments will be made during the week starting 7 December 2020 and all BPS loan payments will be made direct to farmers bank accounts.”

The loan value paid to farmers will be a maximum of 90% of their estimated 2020 BPS payment, which will be based on the area declared for BPS on the SAF 2020 and the number of payment entitlements held on 15 May 2020.

“I would like to urge all eligible farmers to consider making an application before the deadline as there will be no further opportunity to apply for a BPS loan after the 27 November.

“If you have any questions about completing your BPS Loan application you can either contact RPW’s Customer Contact Centre on 0300 062 5004, or your local county office,” added Mrs Voyle.

FUW outlines key points from Mental Health Conference to Minister

On the eve of World Mental Health day (Friday, October 9) the Farmers’ Union of Wales hosted a virtual All Wales Mental Health conference, which explored the wider context of poor mental health in rural communities and what steps need to be taken by Government, decision makers and  policy shapers to address the situation, especially as Covid-19 is likely to put further pressure not just on people’s mental but also their finances. 

Speakers for the morning session, which was chaired by Farmers Guardian Chief Reporter Abi Kay, included Sara Lloyd, Team Leader, South Ceredigion Community Mental Health Team; Cath Fallon, Head of Enterprise and Community Animation Enterprise Directorate, Monmouthshire County Council; Lee Philips, Wales Manager, Money and Pensions Service; John Forbes-Jones, Corporate Manager Mental Wellbeing Services, Ceredigion County Council and Vicky Beers from The Farming Community Network, as well as North Wales farmer and DPJ Foundation volunteer Sam Taylor.

The afternoon session, which is chaired by well known TV Presenter Alun Elidyr, took a practical approach and heard from various dedicated mental health charities offering hands-on advice for those who are supporting a loved one going through mental issues as well as those who are currently experiencing poor mental health.

The event was also supported by Welsh Government’s Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs,Lesley Griffiths, and New Zealand farmer and mental health champion Doug Avery through video message.

Remember, remember - livestock and pets don’t like 5th November

With bonfire night fast approaching and official displays cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions, the Farmers’ Union of Wales is urging people to remember the distress fireworks and sky lanterns can cause to livestock and pets and reminds them of the dangers posed by bonfires.

“Official firework and bonfire displays have of course been cancelled this year due to the Covid-19 restrictions and we therefore call on people to stick to the firework safety code at all times, to minimise the risk to livestock, pets and humans,” said FUW Deputy President Ian Rickman.

“This time of year poses many dangers to animals and children – so don’t let negligence and ignorance be the cause for a real-life horror,” he added.

Animals in general are not fond of the noise of fireworks and can become quite anxious during this time of year. Therefore, the FUW urges people to be considerate and not let them off near livestock.

“It is also a good idea to make sure that your pets have been micro-chipped by a vet and that the details on the chip are up to date prior to bonfire night, just in case they go missing,” said Ian Rickman.

It is also advisable to give neighbours a few days notice of your firework display, particularly if they are elderly, have young children or pets. 

“We also remind people that sky lanterns have been banned on all public land by all councils across Wales, as they pose significant dangers to livestock and are, of course, a considerable fire safety risk,” he added.

Technical BPS improvements welcome but changes to RDP objectives wrong

In responding to the Welsh Government’s latest Sustainable Farming consultation, the Farmers’ Union of Wales has supported a number of proposed technical changes to the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) - but is adamant that plans to move Rural Development principles and objectives away from supporting farming, rural economies and jobs are wrong.

The Sustainable Farming and our Land: Simplifying Agricultural Support consultation set out eleven technical proposals relating to the BPS, which is expected to remain in place for a number of years while a new ‘Sustainable Farming Scheme’ (SFS) is developed. 

However, a second section of the consultation proposed radical changes to the principles, mission, objectives and priorities of the Rural Development Programme (RDP).

“Around two thirds of Wales’ total BPS and RDP budget is paid to farmers through the Basic Payment Scheme, so the RDP currently accounts for about a third of the budget,” said FUW President Glyn Roberts.

Schemes funded through the RDP include the Glastir schemes, Farming Connect, the Timber Business Investment Scheme, the Food Business Investment Scheme and LEADER.

Rejection to protect food import standards a betrayal of the public and farmers

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has reacted with anger and dismay at the House of Commons rejection to enshrine in law measures that would protect consumers and producers from sub-standard food imports.

MPs voted by 332 votes to 279 - a majority 53 - to reject the amendment to the Agricultural Bill which would have ensured food under any future trade deal would have to meet UK animal welfare and food safety rules.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “This Government sacrificed our industry at the altar, paving the way for lower-quality food to come into this country, rather than standing by their manifesto commitments. 

“We believe it was a grave error on their part to oppose the amendments in this way and once again their promises to look after our industry and protect consumers and producers alike are just empty words.”

Mr Roberts added that blocking the amendment, which would protect UK farmers and consumers from food produced to lower health, welfare and environmental standards, at a time when the importance of protecting the food security and health of the Nation was at the top of the agenda, beggars belief.

Release of beavers into Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve enclosure short sighted move, FUW says

The Montgomeryshire branch of the Farmers’ Union of Wales has called plans to release beavers into an enclosure at the Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve a short sighted move.

Responding to the plans, FUW Montgomeryshire County Executive Officer Emyr Wyn Davies said: “We believe that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that this animal does not pose a threat to livestock and the people living here, including bringing disease into the area. That’s just one of many concerns and we are extremely worried about this short sighted move.”

Other concerns raised by the FUW about the reintroduction of the beaver include the animals damming watercourses, which could severely impact the adjacent agriculture land; the risk of the animals escaping their enclosure and the low lying levels of the Dyfi, which are already prone to flooding through natural means - the introduction of an animal which dams watercourses by instinct is likely to exacerbate the flooding propensity for this area.

“We must also consider what happens if a landholding in close proximity to the proposed enclosure enters a Welsh Government agri-environment scheme to increase biodiversity habitats by tree planting and on a Welsh Government inspection is found to be in breach of contract because of vegetation damage by beaver activity - which organisation compensates the at loss landowner? Furthermore, will NRW have a legal obligation to monitor and clear debris entering water courses as a direct result of beavers felling timber?” Mr Emyr Wyn Davies questioned.

He added that whilst the farming community is supportive of increasing biodiversity and habitats, this must not come at the expense of people living in an area. “Let’s also not forget the ambulances getting through to Bronglais Hospital on a stretch of road next to the proposed release site that they've only just stopped flooding whenever it rains - the alternative is a 60 mile detour!”

Don’t forget to check your RPW account - FUW reminds members

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is reminding those farmers that have Glastir contracts to check their Rural Payments Wales (RPW) accounts for notifications and offers of extensions to their contracts. 

“A letter would have been issued to all those where this is relevant in mid September giving notice, but the actual contracts for acceptance have been issued on various dates thereafter,” said FUW Meirionnydd County Executive Officer Huw Jones. 

The notifications relate to Glastir Advanced, Glastir Organic and Glastir Commons, where the contract comes to an end on 31 December 2020.   

“All those in this position should be offered an extension, and farmers  have 21 days from the date the contracts appear online to accept the offer. It is extremely important to check the content of these contracts so that they are correct, and it is imperative that this is done within the 21 days in order to avoid any risk of being unable to extend the contract,” he added. 

If any farmer wishes to obtain any advice or assistance, they can contact FUW County Offices throughout Wales.

 

Angry reaction to NBA proposals expected in FUW livestock and hill farming meeting

Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) President Glyn Roberts says he expects angry reactions at a forthcoming meeting of the FUW’s livestock and hill farming committees to a National Beef Association (NBA) proposal that the definition of prime cattle should be restricted to animals below 28 months old and that a “carbon tax” should be introduced for animals slaughtered above that age.

Mr Roberts, who runs a beef and sheep farm with his daughter Beca in Ysbyty Ifan, North Wales, said: “We have received many calls from angry members since the NBA launched its proposals.

“Many highlighted the particular impact the proposal would have for traditional breeds and certain farming systems which are of particular importance to the environment.”

Mr Roberts said that while the carbon benefits of finishing animals more quickly were well known for certain farming systems, for other more traditional systems where animals are finished over a longer period such a black and white proposal did not make sense from an environmental perspective, including in relation to carbon.

“These concerns will no doubt be raised at a joint meeting of our Livestock, Wool and Marts and Hill Farming and Marginal Land Committees later this month. While I do not want to preempt the outcome of that meeting, I can guarantee that there will be some very angry reactions to the NBA’s proposals in line with those already expressed by the Scottish Beef Association,” added Mr Roberts.

FUW Meirionnydd branch keeps spotlight on local flooding issues

The Farmers’ Union of Wales Meirionnydd branch is keeping the spotlight on local flooding issues and has taken local MP Liz Saville-Roberts on a tour of hot-spots that urgently require attention from responsible authorities and Natural Resources Wales (NRW).

Visiting several areas in North Meirionnydd, officials discussed work that urgently needs to be carried out within internal drainage areas, and especially the River Gaseg and the River Croesor in Llanfrothen, the Dwyryd River in Maentwrog, and the River Glyn near Talsarnau.

Speaking after the meeting, FUW Meirionnydd County Executive Officer Huw Jones said: “We had a very good meeting with Liz Saville-Roberts and thank her for her continued support. We made it clear during our tour of these hot-spots that there are several matters which require urgent attention of NRW within the IDD. 

“The Land Drainage Act 1991 shows clearly that Natural Resources Wales have a statutory responsibility as the Drainage Board to maintain and improve the drainage within the district. 

“There are large areas of agricultural land currently under serious risk of further flooding, and it is imperative that work is carried out as a matter of priority. We will continue to keep the spotlight on this issue until it is resolved and keep members informed of the progress.”

FUW’s All Wales Mental Health Conference supported by top panel of speakers

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is hosting an All Wales Mental Health Conference on the eve of World Mental Health Day to shed light on the wider context of poor mental health in rural communities.

Taking place online via Zoom on Friday 9 October, the conference will hear from a top panel of speakers.  The morning session will explore the wider context of poor mental health in rural communities and what steps need to be taken by Government, decision makers and policy shapers to address the situation, especially as Covid-19 has put further pressure not just on people’s mental health but also their finances.

Speakers for the morning session, which starts at 10.30am and is chaired by Farmers Guardian Chief Reporter Abi Kay, include Sara Lloyd, Team Leader, South Ceredigion Community Mental Health Team; Cath Fallon, Head of Enterprise and Community Animation Enterprise Directorate, Monmouthshire County Council; Lee Philips, Wales Manager, Money and Pensions Service; John Forbes-Jones, Corporate Manager Mental Wellbeing Services, Ceredigion County Council and Vicky Beers from The Farming Community Network.

The afternoon session, which starts at 2pm, will take a practical approach and hear from various dedicated mental health charities offering hands-on advice for those who are supporting a loved one going through mental issues as well as those who are currently experiencing poor mental health.

Speakers for the afternoon session, which is chaired by well known TV Presenter Alun Elidyr, include Gareth Davies, Chief Executive Officer, Tir Dewi; David Williams, Wales Regional Director, the Farming Community Network; Kate Miles, Charity Manager, The DPJ Foundation and Linda Jones, Regional Manager, Wales RABI.

The event is also supported by Welsh Government’s Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs,Lesley Griffiths, and New Zealand farmer and mental health champion Doug Avery through video message.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “Poor mental health and suicide in rural and farming communities is sadly an increasing problem and one that the FUW has made a commitment to tackle. We understand that mental health problems can affect a person’s ability to process information and solve problems, deplete their energy and motivation, and increase impulsive behaviour. Whilst the symptoms are being treated, the root causes of these issues are not so frequently addressed. This conference will therefore go beyond the usual points of discussions and explore the subject further. It is an open event and anyone with an interest in mental health is welcome to join us virtually on the day.”

Those wanting register for the event can do so here: https://www.fuw.org.uk/en/all-wales-mental-health-conference 

Let wool be your first choice FUW encourages

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is encouraging consumers, politicians, the construction, craft and fashion industries to make wool their first choice ahead of Wool Week 2020 (5 - 18 October), which aims to highlight wool’s natural performance qualities and ecological benefits.

Speaking from his Carmarthenshire farm, FUW Deputy President Ian Rickman said: “Every year our sheep will produce a new fleece and they will do so as long as there is grass for them to graze on, making wool an excellent renewable fibre source. That is especially true if compared to synthetic fibres, which require oil and refineries and are a non-renewable resource for fibre production.”

Mr Rickman added that sheep farmers actively work to safeguard the environment and improve efficiency in livestock production. The pull on natural resources and reductions required in the use of fossil fuels, he says, means that consumers will have to look at their longer-term choices. 

“We feed the nation with sustainable and well cared for lamb and take our responsibility to look after the environment seriously. Fabrics such as polyester, nylon, acrylic, and other synthetic fibres are all forms of plastic and make up about 60 percent of the material that makes up our clothes worldwide. 

“The tiny plastic particles shed from our clothes take a very long time to degrade in the soil and are ingested by fish and other animals. We, therefore, need to make choices on an individual level in terms of what we consume - be it food or clothes.”

He added that whilst it was encouraging that the Welsh Government has pledged to consider more British wool for insulation in public buildings, it has to be more than just a pledge.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has had disastrous consequences for the wool industry, especially the export market. But we believe that if there is a will and full commitment by Governments to do the right thing, the benefits will be felt by our entire environment as well as sheep farmers.”

Lords backing on food standards welcomed by FUW

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has welcomed the House of Lords backing an amendment tabled by Labour’s Lord Grantchester, which would require all food imported as part of trade deals to match the UK’s standards.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “Millions of members of the general public have backed campaigns, including our own, to ensure food imported into the UK is produced to the environmental, animal health and welfare standards required by law of our own farmers. We therefore welcome the Lords' support for this principle, which shouldn't be up for debate."

Mr Roberts said that the coronavirus pandemic has exposed our vulnerability to rapid changes in global supply changes and brought to light how we must properly balance domestic and imported food supplies. 

"The Lords have reflected the clear view of the people on a subject that has united farmers, environmentalists and animal rights campaigners, and MPs must uphold the amendments made by the House of Lords or introduce equivalent amendments.”

The FUW has supported and lobbied for such an amendment since the Bill was published early on this year, and has given oral and written evidence to Parliament supporting this view since the Bill's publication.

FUW hosts virtual All Wales Mental Health Conference

Poor mental health and suicide in rural and farming communities is sadly an increasing problem and one that the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has made a commitment to tackle. 

Approaching the fourth year of awareness raising and doing everything it takes to help break the stigma, the Union is hosting a virtual All Wales Mental Health Conference on Friday 9 October 2020 via Zoom, ahead of World Mental Health Day.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “The FUW understands that mental health problems can affect a person’s ability to process information and solve problems, deplete their energy and motivation, and increase impulsive behaviour. Whilst the symptoms are being treated, the root causes of these issues are not so frequently addressed.

“This conference will therefore go beyond the usual points of discussions and explore the subject further. It is an open event and anyone with an interest in mental health is welcome to join us virtually on the day.”

COVID-19 - Important Information for our members and customers

 

In view of the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we’ve taken the decision to help protect members, customers and colleagues by closing all FUW offices.

All staff will be working remotely for the foreseeable future, meaning our team will be continuing with exactly the same service but over the phone/email/skype or other means of remote communication instead. 

Members and customers should continue to contact us as they would, as all our team can be contacted via the usual phone numbers. 

We will be making sure that our service levels are maintained. SAF/IACS appointments will carry on as normal but will be conducted over the phone. 

Contact details for your local office can be found here: https://www.fuw.org.uk/en/contact-us 

 

Important links relating to the Coronavirus:


The TB Hub have prepared a list of FAQs regarding how TB procedures will be affected by the virus: https://tbhub.co.uk/statutory-tb-testing-of-cattle-in-gb-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

Red Tractor Updated Covid-19 position here: https://assurance.redtractor.org.uk/contentfiles/Farmers-7085.pdf?_=637206600290507095

Livestock Auctioneers Association LAA - 25/03/2020: https://www.laa.co.uk/news/3989/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-to-members-and-farmers/

Business Wales (including details of coronavirus support for businesses): https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) available through participating lenders: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/

National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) guidance on Coronavirus: https://www.naac.co.uk/coronavirus-guidance-issued-to-contractors/

National Milk Recording services 24/03/2020: https://www.nmr.co.uk/about-us/coronavirus

Senedd Research Blog: https://seneddresearch.blog/2020/03/17/coronavirus-constituency-support/