Agricultural Policy

French President promises to safeguard EU farm payments

French President Emmanuel Macron has promised to defend the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy budget after opening the annual Paris farm show.

Speaking just a day after talks on the next EU budget broke down, Mr Macron told farmers that France would continue to oppose cuts to farm payments, saying the CAP budget “...cannot be the adjustment variable of Brexit. We need to support our farmers.”

The UK’s departure from the EU will leave a 12% hole in the EU budget, meaning spending cuts must be implemented if increases in Member State contributions are to be avoided - and with spending on agriculture and fisheries currently making up around 40% of EU expenditure, the CAP budget is coming under increasing pressure. Around 9% of the EU’s CAP budget is currently allocated to the UK.

The impact of US tariffs on french farmers was also at the top of the agenda at the Paris show, as France’s wine sector fears up to €400 million euros in annual sales could be lost if a 25% US import tariff remains in place.
French exporters have estimated that the duties led to a €40 million fall US sales in the last quarter.Mr Macron promised to fight for compensation for French producers hit by the tariffs.

 

 

FUW Welcomes Opportunities for Welsh Livestock at Vet School Launch

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed the ambitions of the new 4.2 million pound Veterinary School which was launched in Aberystwyth on 28th of February 2020.

The Vet School, led by Aberystwyth University, is a state-of-the-art facility with high specification laboratories and offices which will support businesses throughout the livestock supply chain and other allied industries.

The launch of this multi-million pound School represents significant research and development into animal health issues of importance to the Welsh farming sector and it is hoped that the centre will provide an integrated approach to disease diagnosis and elimination.

The Vet School was boosted by a 3 million pound fund from the European Regional Development fund.

The union is keen to work with members of the Vet School to help safeguard livestock health, identify industry priorities, reduce losses and improve livestock performance through improved health.

The FUW has repeatedly expressed concern about the shortage of large animal veterinary practitioners in Wales and the union is therefore pleased to see the launch of this centre of veterinary expertise. It is hoped that this will ultimately raise the number of veterinary professionals available.

 

News in Brief

i) Tender for TB Diagnostic Tools Launched

Defra have launched a new tender which aims to fund a 1 year 'proof of concept' project to aid in TB eradication Funding will be provided for projects such as those which aim to improve the diagnostic tools available for bovine TB detection. The application window closes on the 6th March and full details can be found here: https://defra.bravosolution.co.uk/esop/toolkit/opportunity/opportunityList.do?oppList=CURRENT

ii) California Initiative To Reduce Livestock Methane Emissions

Researchers at the University of California have developed technologies to reduce livestock methane emissions by 25% without reducing a single livestock unit. Reducing stock numbers to plant more trees is being considered as the “easy way out” and other strategies are now available which can work alongside food production.

iii) Farm Protests Aim to Redistribute the CAP

Around 200 farmers from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania descended on Brussels this month to demand a higher share of direct payments under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

iv) Taiwan Ceases Pork Imports

Following the continued spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) in Asia, Taiwan has stopped imports of pork and live pigs from Italy. ASF has been present on the Island of Sardinia for more than 40 years.

 

 

 

 

 

Brexit Has Happened - What Happens Now?

Brexit happened on 31st January 2020, so what happens now? In the grand scheme of things, nothing has changed - and nor is it likely to change for at least the next ten months.


On 31st January, the UK entered a transition period which will run until the end of 2020 and all EU Laws and Regulations basically switched to UK Law with almost no change.


It is vital that the UK and EU Governments establish some form of trade relationship in order to replace current friction-free arrangements during this transition period. If plans aren’t in place by August, there is a real risk that there won’t be a trade deal in place by the end of 2020 because of all the work that needs doing to ratify and implement a deal. So there remains a potential for a no deal Brexit and all the accompanying turmoil of trading with our closest neighbours on default World Trade Organisation terms.


Already there are some businesses introducing new port checks and behind the scenes we are seeing regular changes to the TRACES recording system for importing and exporting live animals or animal products. Although these changes aren’t likely to have any direct impacts on a farmers’ daily work, they do provide a taste of what is to come, even if there is a trade deal in place by the end of the year.


A new UK Agriculture Bill, which has sections which variously apply to England, Wales, Northern Ireland, England and Wales, and/or the whole of the UK is currently going through Parliament.

Clarity on Rules For TB Reactors At Slaughter

The FUW continues to receive many queries regarding current TB testing regulation. The rules continue to be complex and depend on factors such as where the infected animal was identified. The regulatory testing regime for a TB animal identified at slaughter are summarised below:

If a breakdown starts with a confirmed slaughterhouse case, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) carries out an immediate check test to determine the level of infection in the rest of the herd. This is usually carried out before the culture results are received. As this test is carried out less than 60 days from the slaughterhouse case leaving the farm it cannot count as one of the short interval tests required to lift TB restrictions.

The requirements to lift restrictions in a Officially Tuberculosis Free Withdrawn (OTFW) breakdown are that the herd must have two clear tests at least 60 and 120 days after the last reactor or slaughterhouse case leaves the farm, so in most confirmed slaughterhouse cases the herd will have its initial check test followed by two short interval tests, the first at severe interpretation and the second at standard to severe interpretation.

The rationale for the policy is that the remaining cattle must have adequate time after the infected animal leaves the farm to develop a response to the TB test if they have become infected. If a reactor is found at any of the tests it resets the clock and a further two tests are required.

The above rules represent a typical situation, however as with all TB regulation it is important to ensure that all testing requirements are met. If you have any further queries regarding these rules, please contact your local County Office.

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