'The importance of agriculture to the Welsh language must be acknowledged' - this was the message from the Welsh Language Commissioner Aled Roberts on Radio Cymru on 7 October 2020. The Welsh Government's post Brexit plans to support the agricultural industry must recognise “its importance to the future of the Welsh language”.
Mr Roberts said subsidies needed to be targeted towards helping family farms survive. Census figures show that 43% of agricultural workers speak Welsh, compared to 19% of the general population. Mr Roberts was responding to the recommendations of a recent report on how farmers can help the government reach its goal of one million Welsh speakers by 2050.
The Farmers’ Union of Wales welcomes this message, and these findings reinforce many points in our report "Farming in Wales and the Welsh Language" (available on the Union's website, www.fuw.org.uk).
Here are some of the Welsh Language Commissioner’s findings in response to a Menter a Busnes report "The Language of the Land" which gathered information from shows and events across Wales during 2019.
- Draw the attention of agricultural policy planners to the undeniable link between the continuity of the language and the survival of our agricultural communities.
- Ensure that policies and the subsidy system support family farms activities.
- Ensure that the planning system supports rural enterprises and communities.
- Work with the post 16 sector to strengthen Welsh language provision on agricultural related courses.
- Fund a system to publish and translate agricultural education resources for the sector.
- Fund a facilitator post to co-ordinate partners interested in sustaining and growing the Welsh language in agriculture.
Glyn Roberts, Farmers Union of Wales President, added: “I welcome the Welsh Language Commissioner’s response to the report, and appreciate the contribution of Menter a Busnes and their research to the report. I am also pleased that there is a wider awareness of the importance of the agriculture sector to the Welsh language. This Union believes that the future of the family farm within a sustainable community is an integral part of the continuation of race and language to Welsh culture.
“It is clear to us living in the rural communities of Wales that agriculture has an integral and vital part in the future of the language. The agricultural industry is the backbone of so many rural communities. The future of our communities, and our rural schools on the Welsh language in these areas go hand in hand with the prosperity of the family farm, a future that is becoming increasingly uncertain in light of the political storms of our time. I look forward to working with the Welsh Government and the Welsh Language Commissioner to ensure a successful future for Welsh family farms.”