Collaboration is key in supporting our farming community

by William Shilvock, Development Officer (Wales), The Farming Community Network

We’re stronger together, but it can be easy to forget this at times – especially when we’re physically separated from one another due to ongoing pandemic restrictions.

I’m sure we’re all glad to hear that things are moving in a positive direction, with the vaccine rollout helping to reduce the spread of Covid-19. We are hopeful that later this year in-person events will be taking place once more and we’ll all be able to come together as an industry.

During this time, The Farming Community Network (FCN) has provided ongoing support to those living and working in farming communities. As a charity operating throughout Wales and England, we have our ear to the ground and hear from farmers and farming families about issues they’re experiencing on their farms and their concerns about the future.

FCN is working with other charities and organisations to help create a resilient farming future and support farmers in adapting to the changes to come. To support farmers in Wales, the FarmWell Wales platform – a free, bilingual online resource containing lots of useful, up-to-date information about supporting your farm business and personal wellbeing – was launched by the Wales Farm Support Group in March 2020.  

Importance of protecting your livestock with insurance

by Gwenno Davies, Account Executive, FUW Insurance Services Ltd

Livestock worrying - It's heart-breaking to say that this is becoming more and more of an insurance issue, especially during the past year.

At FUWIS we have more than one company that insures Welsh farms, so the figures and information I'm talking about are very general and you can think differently for each customer depending on their policy.

We are coming up to such a busy time for farmers and it is so important that the sheep receive the best possible attention without too much stress.

Obviously during this time the value of the stock on our land is higher than normal and it is therefore essential that you make sure you have the right and adequate cover on your insurance policies.

It is so depressing that as farmers, you have to face the loss, but by insuring against livestock worrying properly on your farm policy, we can at least help with the cost of the loss you are facing.

“An opportunity to learn more about the Union’s vision”

Gerald Thomas and Bryn Jones are FUW Anglesey County Representatives. Gerald has lived in Llechwedd, Tyn Lon, Holyhead, Anglesey for nearly 38 years and has retired from his full time job at Wylfa nuclear power station 6 years ago.  He has kept a herd of Welsh Black cattle since 2004, to complement crossbred cattle. They also breed calves, selling them around 12-18 months old at local auctions, such as Gaerwen, Bryncir and Dolgellau. The pure heifers are sold at the Society's auctions in Dolgellau. Bryn has kept a closed suckler herd of Stabiliser cattle on his farm on Anglesey for over 30 years. Below they give an insight into what it's like to be a County Representative.

Why FUW?

Gerald: My father and grandmother were members of FUW. The late Mr Glyn Jones used to visit my home in Llanfechell and I had some interesting conversations with him during that time. I was invited to the Executive for the first time some years ago by Mr Dafydd Roberts, Tryfil - and I continue to attend the monthly meetings.

Bryn: We chose FUW because it is a natural choice for a Welsh family farm.

Agriculture and Education go hand in hand

by Angharad Evans, Welsh Editor

We’re in the middle of another lockdown, and our schools have been closed since before Christmas, but what is the reality of the daily running of a busy farm and trying to ensure that the children's education does not suffer? Cornel Clecs gained an insight into the busy life of Anwen Hughes, Chair of the Union’s Agricultural Education and Training Committee:

What does the countryside teach children?

The countryside teaches children responsibilities, to look after the countryside, the environment and nature. It is also an opportunity to learn about the cycle of life, and how to respect animals.

Where have the last twenty years gone?

by Angharad Evans, Welsh Editor

It is a remarkable coincidence that efforts to eradicate Covid-19 coincide with the 20th anniversary of the outbreak of foot and mouth disease, and the destruction of agriculture in 2001 that left scars on Welsh agriculture that will last a lifetime.

To mark the occasion, Corner Clecs had the opportunity to ask Arwyn Owen, former FUW Director of Policy, and Alan Gardner, Chair of the union's Livestock, Wool and Markets Committee in 2001 about their personal memories of the period:-

Arwyn Owen:-

Where have the last twenty years gone, will be the refrain from many as we look back to the year 2001 and remember the catastrophic impact of foot and mouth disease on life in Wales. Many of the emotions that people felt at that time have been at the forefront of our thoughts as Covid brought everyday life to a standstill in 2020. In both instances, livelihoods have been destroyed and people have lived in fear of an invisible enemy, never knowing when or how it would strike next. For me, the hardest part of my job in 2001 was witnessing people who had done everything within their power to keep foot and mouth out of their flocks and herds having to deal with the consequences of a breakdown. It is easy to look back and simply measure the impact in terms of bare statistics. Behind each confirmed case was a farming family, behind the raw details of animals slaughtered lay many years of meticulous breeding and beyond the immediate impact of the disease lay many questions about the future. The impact on the wider community was often less visible but equally severe. As in 2020, shows were cancelled, social events limited and isolation, whilst good for disease control, caused real suffering for many.

Communities throughout Wales will get extra support as the 2021 Census approaches

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has appointed a census engagement manager/community adviser to support Welsh residents and help make Census 2021 a success.

The Census engagement manager/community adviser, will help organisations, charities, faith groups and community leaders within the city/district raise awareness of the census and the value to residents in taking part.

The census is a once-in-a-decade survey that provides a snapshot of households in England and Wales, helping to plan and fund public services.

Everyone across England and Wales will be asked to take part and the information people give will decide how services are planned and funded. Ultimately, it ensures funds are invested in emergency services, health care, school places and other vital services.

Welsh lamb at its best

Whilst most farmers see their role as raising and preparing high quality stock for the live market or directly to the slaughterhouse, Sion Ifans, Chairman of Merionethshire FUW, sees a wider supply chain responsibility, from 'gate to plate', and has demonstrated the importance of communicating with his customers.

The background stems from a conversation he had with the owner of the local Camlan Garden Centre and Shop in Dinas Mawddwy, near Machynlleth. When Sion asked why local lamb couldn't be sold in the shop, the owner replied that it was hard to find. Typical of Sion, and with his enthusiasm and interest, he decided to do something about the situation and respond positively.

He arranged for his own lambs from Brynuchaf Farm to be transported to Randall Parker abattoir in Llanidloes, and then cut by butcher Marcus Williams, again locally in Llanidloes. The terms and conditions were decided, and the venture started in April 2019. It quickly developed into supplying 2 lambs a week to the shop, and now supplies 3 lambs a week on a fairly regular basis.

The ‘Cig Oen Mawddwy’ brand was developed and is now popular not only with local residents, but also by the thousands who pass daily on the nearby A470 trunk road. The work gives Sion a great deal of pleasure.

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

Senedd Research Blog: https://seneddresearch.blog/2020/03/17/coronavirus-constituency-support/