The Farmers’ Union of Wales is looking forward to a busy virtual Royal Welsh Show week and is hosting a variety of webinars discussing rural housing, climate change, mental health and the future of digital connectivity for Wales.
Speaking ahead of the event, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “We had hoped to be able to be at the showground in person this year, like many others. The Royal Welsh show remains a pinnacle event in our farming calendar and whilst we can’t meet face to face, we are excited to discuss some of the most critical issues facing our industry virtually once again. I hope many of you will be able to join us for these events.”
In addition to the webinars, the Union is also launching a lobbying tool through its website, allowing members and the public to write to their elected representatives highlighting their grave concerns about the Free Trade Deal with Australia.
Tackling the Rural Housing Crisis:
The FUW wrote to the Welsh Government twelve months ago calling for action to prevent an inevitable increase in pressure on rural housing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, since which the issue has become a reality and hit the national headlines.
The issue will be the subject of the Union's Tackling the Rural Housing Crisis webinar on Monday 12 July at 7pm via Zoom, which will also be shown on the Royal Welsh Show website on Monday 19 July at 12.30pm.
“Rural communities across the UK have been under pressure due to second home ownership and related effects for decades, especially in ‘honeypot’ areas such as National Parks, but the pandemic has accelerated the trend, causing rapid house-price inflation and placing rural houses even further beyond the financial reach of rural and agricultural communities,” said FUW President Glyn Roberts.
Joining the seminar, which is chaired by Farmers Guardian Chief Reporter Abi Kay, are Cumbria MP and former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron; Gwynedd County Council Leader and WLGA Rural Forum co-chair Dyfrig Siencyn and Nefyn Town Council leader and Hawl i Fyw Adra campaigner Rhys Tudur.
“We look forward to discussing the problems faced by communities in Wales and England and explore solutions that are more imaginative than simply building more houses,” added Glyn Roberts.
Register in advance for this webinar on Monday 12 July at 7pm: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_iCUDKYg4QFS4b7nEddIvLg
Producing food and looking after the environment:
Addressing concerns around climate change and food production, a panel of experts will discuss ‘Producing food and looking after the environment’. The event, which is being held on Tuesday, 13 July at 7pm via Zoom, is open to all, and will also be shown at the upcoming virtual Royal Welsh Show on Tuesday 20 July at 12.30pm.
The event is chaired by FUW Deputy President Ian Rickman and joining the panel of keynote speakers are FUW Head of Policy Dr Nick Fenwick who will address the issue of reducing livestock numbers and planting trees in Wales; Laura Ryan from the Global Meat Alliance will address the global meat perspective and the United Nations Food Systems Summit dialogue; Hybu Cig Cymru-Meat Promotion Wales , Industry Development and Relations Manager, John Richards will address the role livestock farming plays to positively enhance biodiversity and habitats, whilst delivering sustainable, nutritious food; Dairy UK Chief Executive Dr Judith Bryans is giving a presentation on the global dairy perspective and FUW President Glyn Roberts and his daughter Beca Glyn will discuss climate change and farming with the environment in mind from a grassroots perspective.
Speaking ahead of the event, FUW Deputy President Ian Rickman said: “2021 is an important year for these types of conversations. Knocking on our door are the United Nations Food Systems Summit and COP26. The FUW has been engaging with these conversations at an international level and shares some concerns with other industries across the globe about the wider narrative and ambitions set out in inconspicuous looking documents and plans that aim to tackle climate change and perceived unsustainable food production methods.
“We want to keep the conversation going, raise awareness amongst consumers and farmers and delve deeper into the discussions on climate change and food production. I hope many of you can join us either on the night or catch up with the event during the Royal Welsh Show week.”
Register in advance for this webinar on Tuesday, 13 July at 7pm:
Mental Health- how are you doing?:
The FUW made a commitment at the Royal Welsh Show in 2017 to keep the spotlight on mental health issues for as long as it remains a problem in our rural communities. Approaching the fifth year of awareness raising and doing everything we can to help break the stigma, we ask - how are you doing?
Together with the leading farming charities in Wales we take a look at what has changed, how far we have come and what issues still remain. Titled ‘Mental Health- how are you doing?’, the FUW will be joined by representatives from the DPJ Foundation, The Farming Community Network, Tir Dewi and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution.
The virtual event takes place on Thursday 15 July at 7pm via Zoom and will also be shown at the virtual Royal Welsh Show on Thursday 22 July 12.30pm.
FUW President Glyn Roberts, who is chairing the event, said: “The last 12 months have been tough for many of us. Covid-19 restrictions have seen many of us physically separated from friends, family and loved ones. The everyday stress of life, running a farm business and home schooling children added to pressures.
“In addition to that the farming community also has to cope with new Agricultural Pollution regulations, bovine TB, uncertainty of trade deals and is looking at major changes to farming policy. To say we are in the eye of a perfect storm is putting it mildly.
“With all of this going on, we are once again joining forces with our charities to discuss how they have been able to help over the past 12 months, what help they need to address the growing demand on mental health services and explore what we ourselves can do to maintain good mental health. I hope many of you will be able to join us either for the live event or catch up with us through the virtual Royal Welsh Show platform.”
Register in advance for this webinar on Thursday 15 July at 7pm:
‘Digital connectivity: Addressing the digital divide between rural and urban areas’
Following a survey, run by the National Federation of Women's Institutes-Wales, CLA, Farmers’ Union of Wales, NFU Cymru and Wales YFC, which showed that over 50% of respondents from a rural area felt that the internet they had access to was not fast and reliable, a special digital connectivity event is taking place to discuss the findings and the future of digital connectivity for Wales.
The event, titled ‘Digital connectivity: Addressing the digital divide between rural and urban areas’ takes place on Monday 19 July at 12.30pm via Zoom and is streamed through the Royal Welsh Show event website.
Confirmed speakers at the event, which is chaired by Katie Davies - Chairman, Wales YFC, are Elinor Williams - Head of Regulatory Affairs; Ofcom Wales, Nick Speed - BT Group director for Wales; Julie James MS, Minister for Climate Change and Kim Mears OBE - Managing Director, Strategic Infrastructure Development, Openreach.
Speaking ahead of the event, Katie Davies said:“The findings of the survey are therefore a real cause for concern and it has become clear that despite many UK and Welsh Government promises made over the years, the digital divide between rural and urban areas has not been addressed.
“Our webinar will give us an opportunity to speak to industry representatives about the results and what they are doing to improve the situation for our rural and farming communities now and in the immediate future.”
To join the virtual live event on Monday 19 July at 12.30pm register in advance here: