The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) this morning (23 November) met Plaid Cymru spokesperson on Rural Affairs and Agriculture Cefin Campbell MS to discuss details of the recently published Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru Co-operation Agreement.
It was announced yesterday (22 November) that both parties, subject to support from party members, have agreed to work cooperatively for the next three years on 46 policies where there is a common interest including second homes, tree planting, agricultural pollution, the Welsh language and the Sustainable Farming Scheme.
Speaking after the meeting with the Mid and West Wales Senedd Member, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “There were clear distinctions between the aspirations of Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru in their manifestos in the spring, but given the current balance of votes in the Senedd, Labour was willing to negotiate on a range of issues.”
The agreement states that a transition period will be introduced as the system of farm payments is reformed so stability payments will continue to be a feature of the Sustainable Farming Scheme during and beyond this Senedd term.
Mr Roberts added: “We have consistently argued for the inclusion of stability payments that protect Wales’ family farms in any future scheme, and while the commitment is a very high level one we certainly welcome it.”
Mr Roberts said he therefore looked forward to working with the Welsh Government and politicians from across the political spectrum to ensure the Sustainable Farming Scheme is developed in a way which fully respects the commitment to stability payments.
The agreement also commits to working ‘...with the farming community to improve water quality and air quality, deploying the Water Resources Regulations 2021, taking an approach targeted at those activities known to cause pollution’.
“We discussed this with Mr Campbell and the fact that there was a unanimous decision by Senedd Members back in June to review the regulations - a process currently being undertaken by the Senedd Economy, Trade and Rural Affairs Committee. We will therefore monitor developments and seek to ensure proportionate and targeted actions that do not unfairly impact on farmers,” he added.
Other sections of the agreement discussed during the meeting included the commitments to implement a community food strategy to encourage the production and supply of locally-sourced food in Wales; to work with farmers to ensure the right trees are planted in the right places and protect local ownership and control of woodlands; and to implement rules to take immediate and radical action to address the proliferation of second homes and unaffordable housing.
“We are grateful to Mr Campbell for giving his time this morning to discuss issues which have a direct impact on agriculture and agricultural communities. We remain committed to monitoring the implementation of this agreement, if it is passed by party members, or any other developments in order to seek the best future for our family farms,” said Mr Roberts.