The Meirionnydd branch of the Farmers’ Union of Wales enjoyed a busy day at the County Show (Wednesday, 28 August), which was held at Harlech, with Union officials, staff, and FUW Insurance Services Ltd. on hand to answer any questions members had.
The stand was a hive of activity with representatives from RABI, FWAG Cymru, Farming Connect, Gamlins Solicitors LLP and North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones, together with Rob Taylor and members of the Rural Crime Team on hand to offer advice and guidance on a plethora of current issues affecting the farming community.
FUW Meirionnydd County Chairman Sion Ifans said: “We enjoyed a busy county show at Harlech and I must thank the staff and everyone who joined us for making it such a roaring success once again. A special thank you goes to our members and friends of the FUW in the Dinas Mawddwy, Dolgellau and Trawsfynydd areas for taking responsibility for the refreshments on the stand.”
On the day, the FUW further drew attention to the work of the Wales Farm Safety Partnership (WFSP), welcoming recently appointed ‘ambassadors’ Alun Edwards, prominent local FUW member and well known TV presenter and Betws Y Coed farmer Beca Glyn, who gave a talk on her personal experience following a quad bike accident in February last year.
“It’s time to take farm safety seriously - the latest death toll makes the industry the most dangerous in the UK. 32 people have lost their lives working on British farms over the last 12 months. It is not a record to be proud of.
“The truth is that farming is a hazardous industry. We work with potentially dangerous machinery, vehicles, chemicals, livestock, at height or near pits and silos. And top of the list of dangers are farm vehicles, from ATVs to Land Rovers and telehandlers.
“Of course it’s easier said than done, especially on a busy farm where there is never enough time to sit back, but planning the job - whatever that may be - could well be a life-saver.
“I thank Alun Edwards for joining us at the county show to highlight just why farm businesses need to ‘stop, think and put the right systems in place’ to reduce the high risk of agricultural accidents,” said Sion Ifans.
The FUW’s County Branch also presented its annual sponsorship of £250 to the Young Farmers’ Clubs in Meirionnydd, whilst also introducing FUW Academi. The scheme was launched recently at the Royal Welsh Show, and is a new way of keeping in touch with young farmers. It provides all year round activities and events through a network of groups which provides a platform for coming together, and catching up on the latest farming practices.
David Williams, Wales Regional Director of the Farming Community Network (FCN) also joined the FUW stand and Dolgellau Hospital Staff Nurse Anne Thomas and Edna Jones of BCUHB Outpatient Services were on hand to raise awareness of the support available for mental wellbeing in the farming community.
“1 in 4 people will suffer with mental health problems in their lifetime, it is not an uncommon illness and one which we need to work together to tackle.
“Sadly, agriculture carries the highest rate of suicide above any other occupation. Concerns about the unpredictable weather, animal disease, support payments and the impact of Brexit are weighing on the minds of many farmers throughout Wales.
“Coupled with the loneliness and isolation that comes with farming means that farmers and agricultural workers are highly susceptible to poor mental wellbeing.
“Failing to deal with that could lead to all sorts of issues, such as the farm running inefficiently, a serious injury, relationship breakdowns, poor physical health and, even worse, it could lead to suicide.
“That’s why we will continue to highlight the problem and help farmers get the help they need to overcome any mental health problems they themselves, a friend or family member might be struggling with. I thank both the FCN and Dolgellau Hospital Staff for their continued support and guidance,” added Sion Ifans.