?FARMING COUPLE HEED SON’S CONTROVERSIAL ADVICE TO BOOST PROSPECTS

[caption id="attachment_4961" align="aligncenter" width="300"]James, Linda and Keith Hughes on their dairy farm James, Linda and Keith Hughes on their dairy farm[/caption]

A West Wales dairy farming couple has recalled how they helped achieve a boost in their financial prospects by reluctantly taking controversial advice from their son.

Keith and Linda Hughes of Caeau Newydd, Dryslwyn, near Carmarthen, agreed to convert their 400-acre mixed stock farm of dairy, beef and sheep to the "New Zealand System" of farming based on pasture and grazing when their son James returned from a gap year working on a dairy farm in New Zealand.

After studying agriculture at the former Welsh Agricultural College in Aberystwyth James, now 34, was ready to start working on the family farm.

"With him coming home and an extra man already working on the farm we knew that we had to step up a gear," Keith said. "I didn’t want to do all the hard work myself and hand everything over to him on a plate.

"I wanted him to have an input into what direction we would go so we waited until he returned from New Zealand. Little did I know what he had in mind and it took him a few months to persuade us of the new Kiwi system of milk production that we had never heard of before."

The family then took the new system on board wholeheartedly. Keith became so excited about it that he could not stop telling friends and neighbours about this new way of making money.

"I had a negative reaction from everybody. I realised then that if I wanted to keep any friends I'd better shut up about it," he told Farmers' Union of Wales officials when they visited the farm.

However, together with Linda and James they were determined to proceed with the new venture which meant the beef and sheep enterprises had to be sacrificed to accommodate a large dairy herd which, of course, meant a new larger parlour.

The new venture did not get of to an easy start. "The next problem we faced was the milking parlour. James had been in New Zealand for a year and he had very different ideas about what sort of parlour he would need.

"A cheap and cheerful swing over parlour was required. Unfortunately, no manufacturer in this country would let us have one but eventually James made some contacts at a dairy show with a man who imported milking parlours from New Zealand."

The family then proceeded to build the first swing over parlour in Wales in 1999. "In the first year we milked 128 cows on a herd group constantly.

"In the beginning we ran a fine herd, because it was possible to access cows that were cheap to purchase and would calve in the spring."

Today the family runs their own home breed. "We cross Jersey bulls with large Holstein cows for the larger cows and the New Zealand Friesian for the smaller cows. The herd grew rapidly - so much so that our heifers are now contract reared from three months," said Keith.

"Now that we have lowered the herd stocking level it has given us the opportunity to improve pasture by reseeding. Two years ago we implemented a plan to reseed 70 acres every year.

"We have improved grass production so that we can upgrade to at least 360 cows and helped to mitigate the loss of the single farm payment."

The majority of the farm shares were handed over to James following Keith’s 60th birthday. Keith is confident James will make a success of the business.

"I passionately believe that the future of farming should be in the hands of vibrant young farmers," he added.

Looking back on a successful past year, Keith and Linda are optimistic about the future and believe the Kiwi way of dairy milk farming was definitely the right choice for them.

"Our carried forward profit per share (cfps) for 2009 - which was not a pretty good year due to poor quality silage - and after all our costs including our own salaries, which are realistic, and quite a chunk for depreciation, we were left at the end of all that, excluding the single farm payment, with a net profit margin of 5.31 pence per litre."

Keith and Linda set up the farm 35 years ago when they rented 150 acres. Five years later they were offered first refusal on a further 250 acres - an opportunity they could not refuse.

"We then grew to 400 acres, 350 of which grow grass and the rest holds trees, rivers and cow tracks," Keith added.

At the end of the visit, FUW president Gareth Vaughan said:""It is a wonderful system. I have read a lot about it but I have never seen this system in action before.

"I compliment you on your attitude towards life and the young people in the family. That is an attitude that lots of us in the industry could learn from."

FUW HIGHLIGHTS EID PENALTY CONCERNS TO COMMISSION OFFICIALS

The Farmers' Union of Wales has joined farming organisations from across the UK in highlighting to European Commission officials the need for sheep tagging rules to reflect the shortcomings of EID technology.

During a visit by officials from the EC departments responsible for animal health and agriculture to Penrith Market in Cumbria, and a subsequent meeting, FUW director of agricultural policy Nick Fenwick highlighted the industry's concerns regarding the impact of the regulation.

Speaking after the meeting, Dr Fenwick said: "While the FUW maintains its wholehearted objection to compulsory sheep EID, the reality is that the EU is in no hurry to change the general regime.

"One immediate focus is, therefore, to persuade the commission to make allowances which ensure that failures in the technology do not result in farmers being penalised for cross compliance breaches."

During the visit the commission was presented with a host of data confirming that error rates were significant and that the proportion of batches read at markets containing errors could be as high as 30%.

"The commission accepted that 100% reliability of the technology is not realistic and made some encouraging noises regarding the general principle that there should be no penalty against a farmer for circumstances which are not reasonably within their control. They also stated that penalties need to be proportionate."

During the meeting, the commission referred to existing EC guidelines regarding other issues where normal error rates should not result in farmers being penalised, marking a welcome acceptance that principles which apply in other areas should extend to the sheep EID regime.

The problem associated with individually recording and reporting the movements of sheep born before 2010 after 2011 was also highlighted during the meeting.

"Having to record and report individual movements of pre-2010 animals after 2011 will be a major problem for the industry, and the common sense solution would be to allow such sheep to be reported and recorded in batches until they are out of the system," Dr Fenwick added.

The commission also agreed to consider the issue of older sheep, as well as a number of other concerns raised at the meeting.

SPENDING REVIEW CUTS PROMPT RURAL CRIME WAVE FEARS

Fears were expressed today that a major rural crime wave could break out across Wales as a result of the £7bn annual welfare payment cuts announced in the Coalition Government's Spending Review.

Farmers' Union of Wales Gwent area officer Neil Smith, who has witnessed a big increase in farm equipment thefts over the past two months, said: "With such a reduction in social and welfare payments, and considering the current economic climate, we could see a further increase in such thefts."

Abergavenny-based Mr Smith, who visits farms as part of his job, said the situation was particularly bad in Gwent. He is personally aware of two trailers, mini diggers and a couple of quad bikes being stolen over the past few weeks.

Last month the FUW warned farmers to be on the alert for three men from the Cardiff area with a pellet gun who claimed to be rabbiting when the white transit van they were travelling in was spotted parked on two separate farms in the Neath area.

Police inspected the inside of the van - CV05 YPK - at Llwynllanc Farm, Crynant, and nothing was found but it was seen again five days later parked on a neighbouring farm.

"We are anxious to highlight this incident because there have been a lot of farm quad bikes stolen in that area recently," said FUW Glamorgan county executive officer Adrian Evans.

"The police are warning farmers that the rabbiting claim could be just another scam by criminals to give them a degree of legitimacy for being on farm land and having a good look around the buildings."

Police revealed that a notable arrest was made in Aberdulais recently when two Merthyr men were apprehended for going equipped to steal. They were also using a transit van which contained empty diesel drums and siphoning equipment.

They are also investigating after a stolen tractor was left crashed into a tree at Gellyfowy Fawr, Ynysmeudwy, Pontardawe, and a steel gate was stolen from Brynchwyth, Tonna.

The union's Gwent county executive officer Glyn Davies said: "The stealing of diesel is very common and farmers need to take extra safety measures.

"It was only a few weeks ago that three attempted tractor thefts were made in the Gwent area. The winter months are approaching and early dark evenings make farms a target."

Beryl Yeomans, of White Hill Farm, Wonastow, Monmouth, had her tractor stolen recently and it was only due to the watchful eye of a neighbour travelling to work early one morning that the culprits could be stopped.

"It was the end of September and the police rang us at 5am in the morning to ask if we were missing a tractor. They said they found the tractor on the road with the engine running and wheels turning with just the hand brake on.

"A neighbour had happened to go to work early that day and saw the tractor being driven along the road quite slowly. He must have scared them of and they jumped in a car and drove of.

"He informed the police of the location of the tractor and the car's registration immediately. We are very lucky that the tractor was found with only minor damage.

"It was an old tractor but it also had a silage bale handler on the loader. We could never have replaced all of this just from the insurance money. We will now look into further security measures," Mrs Yeomans added.

FUW RECEPTION HEARS OF DAIRY FARMING'S CHALLENGES

[caption id="attachment_4951" align="aligncenter" width="300"]FUW president Gareth Vaughan - left - with HSBC head of agriculture Allan Wilkinson on a visit yesterday - October 18 - to Caeau Newydd dairy farm, at Dryslwyn near Carmarthen. FUW president Gareth Vaughan - left - with HSBC head of agriculture Allan Wilkinson on a visit yesterday - October 18 - to Caeau Newydd dairy farm, at Dryslwyn near Carmarthen.[/caption]

There is a sense of opportunity for dairy farmers worldwide from an expanding market but matters are a great deal more challenging in the UK, HSBC bank's head of agriculture Allan Wilkinson said last night (Monday, October 18).

Speaking at a Farmers' Union of Wales reception on the eve of the Welsh Dairy Show in Carmarthen, Mr Wilkinson said the UK dairy industry had witnessed massive change since the demise of the Milk Marketing Boards in 1994.

"There has been a period of catch up with the rest of Europe. With that change has come an ever greater reliance on a market-place driven milk price which, by its very nature, will vary depending on the ultimate end use and the strength and efficiency of the chain involved to get it to the consumer.

"It has even manifested itself into the current discounting of fresh liquid milk on the supermarket shelf, traditionally seen as the place for highest milk prices for the UK producer."

Added pressures for UK dairy farmers are: bovine TB which has been extremely challenging to all those affected; a more testing than usual growing season stretching some silage stocks; and higher winter feed costs for the majority of producers reliant on bought-in concentrates.

"Add these to a seemingly increasing administrative burden and the prospect of the reform of the CAP for 2013 onwards, and the pressures are there for all to see," said Mr Wilkinson.

"Producer numbers have fallen considerably in the last decade, though UK milk output has remained just below historic levels. Those remaining have expanded 'to fill the gap'.

"There is indeed a majority of producers who are no better than breaking even at present. That can be no surprise to anyone. Between the best and the worst, however, the range seems greater than ever, with the very best achieving total costs of production well below 20p/litre.

"Milk producers who have the combination of strong and efficient levels of technical output, and low costs of production, will have the ability to stand fluctuating milk prices as the world market place moves. They will remain successful, and they will continue to invest in the future, making the most of their current position.

"Milk production in this part of the world has many advantages that are the envy of the world. Please seize them, be they on farm, based on grass production, or from the provenance that the market place can and should offer you.

"Farmgate milk price has always been and is still very important to the producer. Obviously the higher it is, the greater the chance of profit - providing costs remain in check as well.

"All parts of the dairy industry must recognise the need for a sensible return for the future continued success of the whole. Knowing in greater detail your customer or supplier and working more closely with them - who ever they are - will become more important, irrespective of position within that chain.

"Retailers, processors or farmers are equally interdependent upon the next part of that chain. That is true now, and from what I see of dairying elsewhere, individual producers and producer groups have an increasing positive, even collaborative role to play going forward.

"So do I see a positive outlook for UK dairying? Yes I do, and I say that from the point of view of the UK market place, the ever demanding but receptive UK consumer and the wider global position.

"We have a strong home market, but it is not ours by right. It will demand continued attention, or it will become someone else's market. It may require fresh thinking to make the most of the opportunity ahead.

"The future will be more challenging than hitherto, it will contain continued price volatility and the market will remain complex. We can only plan forward for a strong UK dairy farming industry with the global market place and food chain well understood.

"The current environment places pressure on the individual producer, but it also suggests to me a substantial pressure in the processor sector as they seek to re-invest and plan for their long term."

Earlier, FUW president Gareth Vaughan stressed that the steep decline in the number of Welsh dairy farmers will continue so long as supermarkets continue to take a bigger share of the profits from milk sales.

"New figures released by DairyCo earlier this month revealed dairy farmers in Wales and England received an average 23.8p per litre for their milk during 2009/2010 compared to 25.8p the previous year. But the retailers' share of the price went up from 18.8p to 22.4p.

"These figures underline our fears for the traditional Welsh dairy farm which has declined sharply in numbers from 2,727 in 2006 to 2,094 last year.

"We have to ask whether the prices paid to Welsh dairy farmers are sufficient to give them a sustainable return to enable them to invest in their business and continue to supply milk in an efficient and profitable manner.

"The Welsh dairy farm has been the backbone of community life in much of rural Wales for years but these figures don't provide any comfort for the future.

"I fear that the decline in dairy farm numbers will continue until there is a change of heart by the retailers and they start paying producers the kind of prices they badly need to allow them to fully meet their costs and invest for the future."

FUW CONSULTS MEMBERS ON LEVY INCREASE MOVE

Following the launch by Hybu Cig Cymru of a consultation paper on increasing red meat levies in Wales, the Farmers' Union of Wales is consulting its county branches on the proposed increases.

The first levy increase in a decade, if approved, would see farmers and processors paying an extra 16p for sheep, £1.10 for cattle and 25p for pigs entering the human food chain.

Responding to the consultation's launch, Aeron Prysor Jones, chairman of the FUW's livestock, wool and marts committee said: "The union's hill farming and livestock committees were recently given a presentation by HCC's chief executive, Gwyn Howells, about the work of HCC and the proposed increase.

"HCC undertakes a great deal of important research and promotion work which many farmers are unaware of. The reduction in livestock numbers which has occurred over the past years, coupled with other factors, has led to a significant drop in HCC's funds, and this has threatened much of that work.

"The industry now needs to carefully consider the implications of maintaining the status quo or supporting a rise in levy, and the union will respond to the proposals reflecting our members views."

Mr Jones also expressed his major concerns regarding the implication of falling livestock numbers.

"During HCC's presentation, members expressed major concerns over the fall in Welsh livestock numbers, and that the new Glastir scheme will accelerate this, further reducing the money available for HCC to undertake its functions.

"This is an outrageous situation, given that our major competitors such as the Irish will continue to receive significant LFA payments which aid production."

FUW LEADERS WALK IN FOOTSTEPS OF WELSH ACTOR

[caption id="attachment_4946" align="aligncenter" width="300"]The voice of Welsh red meat promotion agency Hybu Cig Cymru’s 2010 TV advertising campaign who often seeks inspiration by walking the Dyfi Valley farm where his father was born. The voice of Welsh red meat promotion agency Hybu Cig Cymru’s 2010 TV advertising campaign who often seeks inspiration by walking the Dyfi Valley farm where his father was born.[/caption]

Farmers' Union of Wales leaders walked in the footsteps of Welsh actor Matthew Rhys when they visited his cousin's family farm in Mid Wales yesterday (October 13).

FUW president Gareth Vaughan and deputy president Emyr Jones called on the union's local chairman, 24-year-old Sion Evans, on their way to address members at a branch meeting in Pennal, near Machynlleth.

Sion farms with his parents Hywel and Ceinwen who are uncle and aunt to Matthew who often goes back to his roots and visits their farm at Marchlyn in the Dyfi Valley where his father was born.

Matthew, who rose to fame playing alongside Kathleen Turner in the West End stage production of The Graduate, has walked and talked in the Dyfi Valley with local wildlife expert Iolo Williams for S4C's "Crwydro" series.

Marchlyn, which extends to just over 300 acres, is a typical family farm with 500 Welsh Mountain ewes, 200 of which are crossed with Suffolk and Blue Face Leicester.

In addition 120 ewe lambs are kept annually as replacements. Stocking also includes 25 suckler cows crossed with a Charolais bull. The farm is in the Tir Cynnal scheme, and has expressed an interest in the Glastir scheme.

As with many family farms it diversified into tourism 15 years ago and outbuildings have been converted to bed and breakfast accommodation which can accommodate up to 11 persons. Some outbuildings can also be let as self-catering accommodation.

Sion has a keen interest in the agricultural industry and after completing his A levels at Coleg Meirion Dwyfor, Dolgellau, he attended the Scottish Agricultural College at Dumfries where he obtained an HND in agriculture in 2005.

He has since gained valuable experience visiting New Zealand, in particular perfecting his shearing skills. He now takes time out of the farm during June and July each year as a shearing contractor, as well as occasionally other farm work.

"Matthew is a regular visitor and he enjoys walking the farm and sometimes being involved in the faming activities," he told the union's leaders.

"We are now looking forward to the launch of his book on November 23 about his experiences crossing the plain in Patagonia - ''Croesi'r Paith''," added Sion, who is also hoping for an opportunity to visit Patagonia in the future.

In the "Crwydro" programme Matthew revealed he really wanted to be a farmer when he was younger but his grandmother used to try to talk him out of it by saying he would be better off getting a "proper" job.

"She wanted me to be a chef!" he told Iolo. "I don't know whether or not I could be a farmer now having lived all my life in towns and cities.

"Like many people, I have a romantic idea about farming although I do understand how difficult it is."

Explaining why he likes to return to Gwynedd when his busy schedule permits, Matthew added: "I love coming back to this area to relax and enjoy the beautiful countryside.

"I have lots of family here and I enjoy hearing stories about my grandmother and grandfather. The peacefulness of the place certainly appeals and is a pleasant contrast to the hustle-bustle of city life."

MP WELCOMES TB CONSULTATIONS AFTER VISIT TO FUW

[caption id="attachment_4940" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Stephen Crabb - furthest right - inspects a badger sett with FUW Pembrokeshire members. Stephen Crabb - furthest right - inspects a badger sett with FUW Pembrokeshire members.[/caption]

Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb has visited a farm near Neyland to hear first hand how bovine TB restrictions continue to affect the farming community in his constituency.

His visit, organised by the Farmers' Union of Wales, took place just as the UK Coalition Government launched a consultation on bovine TB calling for individuals to submit views on the launch of a carefully-managed and science-led policy of badger control, as part of a package of measures, in areas of England with high and persistent levels of bovine TB in cattle.

The Welsh Assembly Government also announced that they would be inviting views on proposed legislation for badger culling as part of a comprehensive programme to eradicate bovine TB in cattle in West Wales.

Its draft Badger (Control Area) (Wales) Order 2010 will allow a Government-managed cull of badgers, alongside additional cattle measures, in an Intensive Action Area in North Pembrokeshire. This action comes after the Badger Trust won a court appeal against a cull in July 2010.

"We brought together farmers from across the county to discuss issues ranging from tenancy farming to affordable housing but the discussion centred on the devastating impact of bovine TB," said the FUW's Pembrokeshire county executive officer Rebecca Williams.

"The farm where the visit took place has been under restriction for bovine TB for most of the last five years and Mr Crabb also met a farmer whose herd had been wiped out by the disease."

Government statistics suggest that, in parts of Wales, bovine TB has escalated to unsustainable levels over the past 25 years. This is placing a huge financial burden on the Government, taxpayers and farmers.

After the visit Mr Crabb said: "I am pleased to have had the opportunity to meet with farmers and representatives from the FUW in Pembrokeshire.

"Farming is extremely important to Pembrokeshire's economy and way of life. It is important that we take action to ensure that farming in the UK has a viable and sustainable future.

"I was disappointed to hear that bovine TB continues to have a devastating impact on the farming community in the county. It vital that we eradicate bovine TB in Wales by tackling all sources of the disease and I welcome the recent consultations launched by the Conservative-Liberal Coalition Government in London and Plaid-Labour in the Welsh Assembly Government.

"I hope that we can now make real progress to support the farming community and eradicate the bovine TB."

NORTH WALES FARMER PICKS UP WELSH DAIRY SHOW AWARD

[caption id="attachment_4954" align="aligncenter" width="300"]From left, Gareth Vaughan, Terrig Morgan and HSBC's head of agriculture Allan Wilkinson From left, Gareth Vaughan, Terrig Morgan and HSBC's head of agriculture Allan Wilkinson[/caption]

This year's popular and worthy winner of the Farmers' Union of Wales-HSBC Bank plc award for outstanding service to the Welsh dairy industry received the trophy during today's Welsh Dairy Show at Carmarthen.

Dairy farmer Terrig Goronwy Morgan MBE BSc (Hons) FRAgS, of Carreg-y-Llech, Treuddyn, Mold, has spent the past 45 years heavily involved in Welsh agricultural circles.

Between 1965 and 1970 he studied at University College of Wales Aberystwyth where he obtained a BSc Honours degree in agriculture and became a research assistant running an Agricultural Board funded project entitled "Training needs in the Hill Farms of Wales".

From 1973 to 1976 he taught agriculture to day-release students at the Welsh College of Horticulture in Northop and in 2003 he was awarded an Associate of the Royal Agricultural Societies.

In the New Year's Honours List of 2007 he was awarded the MBE for services to the dairy industry and in 2008 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies and elected vice chairman of the Welsh panel of the Council for Awards of Royal Agricultural Societies.

His many other contributions to agriculture include being this year's president of the Denbighshire and Flintshire Agricultural Show, appointed a member of the land-based panel for Deeside College last year and in 2004 he established a successful discussion group in Flintshire for younger milk producers known as "The Udder Group" which is now run by Dairy Co.

In 2001 he was chairman of the International Dairy Federation's standing committee on farm management which published the IDF/FAO Guide to Good Dairy Farming Practices covering various aspects of concern such as animal health, milk hygiene, animal feeding and water, animal welfare and environment.

Announcing the award, FUW president Gareth Vaughan said: "Terrig's contribution to the dairy industry in Wales and the UK throughout his lifetime is immense. He is a very worthy winner of this highly prestigious award."

STRESS AND PROPERTY ADVICE ON FUW STAND AT WELSH DAIRY SHOW

Farmers attending the Welsh Dairy Show in Carmarthen later this month will be encouraged to seek advice about any mental health issues they may have on the Farmers' Union of Wales stand.

The union has allowed Hywel Dda Health Board's primary care mental health service for Carmarthenshire - who run stress control classes across the county - to share their stand during the show at the United Counties Showground, near Carmarthen, on Tuesday October 19.

The service provides health promotion information around common mental health issues affecting everyone, such as sleep problems, worrying, stress, depression, panic attacks, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

"Due to the rurality of Carmarthenshire a large part of their work is directed at the rural population including the farming community," said FUW's county executive officer Meinir Bartlett.

"They have a permanent stand at Carmarthen Mart where they offer advice and information. The service is a new initiative and a significant challenge with the stigma attached to mental health issues as well as the culture that the farming community perpetuates.

"By having a presence at various farming and rural events across the county they hope to have some impact towards increasing awareness."

A representative of Davis Meade Property Consultants, one of the leading firms of chartered surveyors and valuers in the country dealing with agricultural dispute resolution ranging from landlord and tenant advice to compulsory purchase negotiations, will also be on the FUW stand during the show to discuss issues with individual farmers.

FUW FEARS FOR WELSH MILK INDUSTRY AS SUPERMARKETS BOOST PROFITS

The steep decline in Welsh dairy farmers will continue so long as supermarkets continue to take a bigger share of the profits from milk sales, the Farmers' Union of Wales warned today.

New figures released by DairyCo revealed dairy farmers in Wales and England received an average 23.8p per litre for their milk during 2009/2010 compared to 25.8p the previous year. But the retailers' share of the price went up from 18.8p to 22.4p.

"These figures underline our fears for the traditional Welsh dairy farm which has declined sharply in numbers from 2,727 in 2006 to 2,094 last year," said the union's milk and dairy produce committee chairman Eifion Huws.

"And compounding the problem is the fact that the average farmgate price paid to Welsh farmers is actually much lower than the Wales-England average, because the majority of our milk goes into the cheese market."

"We now have to ask whether the prices paid to Welsh dairy farmers are sufficient to give them a sustainable return to enable them to invest in their business and continue to supply milk in an efficient and profitable manner.

"The Welsh dairy farm has been the backbone of community life in much of rural Wales for years and years but these figures don't provide any comfort for the future.

"I fear that the decline in dairy farm numbers will continue until there is a change of heart by the retailers and they start paying producers the kind of prices they badly need to allow them to fully meet their costs and invest for the future."

FUW URGES FARMERS TO CONSIDER APPLICATION FOR GLASTIR

The Welsh Assembly Governments’ controversial Glastir scheme application packs and pre-populated application forms will be sent out today Monday October 4 to those farmers who expressed an interest in the scheme on their 2010 Single Application Form (SAF).

The scheme will be introduced in January 2012 and will replace the existing four schemes - Tir Gofal, Tir Cynnal, Tir Mynydd and the Organic Farming Scheme.

The Farmers’ Union of Wales Land use and Parliamentary Committee Chairman, Richard Vaughan, said today that “whilst the Union continues to have serious misgivings about aspects of Glastir, including the lack of information available on the targeted element of the scheme, it encourages farmers to look carefully at their options to avoid being disadvantaged at a later stage especially when details of the Targeted Element become clearer.”

The packs sent to farmers will include detailed maps of the land applicants intend to enter into Glastir and will display certain land characteristics which should help applicants choose their options.

“Farmers should take advantage of the Glastir surgeries to fully assess the implications of the scheme on their businesses and to consider specialist help if they are unsure of their ability to qualify, said Mr Vaughan”.

FUW APPOINTS NEW PRESS OFFICER

The Farmers' Union of Wales has appointed a multi-media journalism graduate of Bournemouth University as its press officer.

Anne Birkett, former student of Aberaeron Comprehensive School and Aberystwyth's Coleg Ceredigion, lives at Bwlchllan, near Lampeter. In her last job she was responsible for organising events with a film production company in Poole, Dorset.

"Having made the decision to move back to Wales to be closer to my family, who all live and work in Ceredigion, I am very excited to take on the new challenge of press officer for the FUW," she said today.

FUW director of public relations Peter Roberts said he was looking forward to working with Anne who has experience of print, broadcast and online media.

"Having worked in the newsroom of the Daily Echo in Bournemouth and for Heart FM radio, I am pleased that she has a strong knowledge of the media," he added.

PROMISE AUCTION RAISES £5,200 FOR AIR AMBULANCE

The Farmers' Union of Wales in Meirionnydd today announced that a final sum of £5,200 was raised at a promise auction arranged at the farm of its deputy president Emyr Jones.

The event, held at Rhiwaedog, Rhosygwaliau, near Bala, also included a hog roast and entertainment. It followed a successful open day arranged by the Federation of Welsh Grassland Societies, the British Grassland Society (BGS), Aberystwyth University's Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), Grassland Development Centre and the FUW.

The open day was arranged to give farmers the opportunity to visit Mr Jones and family's beef and sheep farm which won the 2008 BGS national grassland management competition.

Mr Jones today praised to all those who assisted in raising such a large sum of money for such a worthwhile cause. The Wales Air Ambulance is the FUW president's chosen charity for 2010.

"The event's success was the result of kind assistance and close co-operation of many individuals, which was very much appreciated," added Mr Jones.

FUW WELCOMES MEIRIONNYDD DWYFOR MP AS GUEST SPEAKER

Meirionnydd Dwyfor MP Elfyn Llwyd will be the guest speaker at a meeting of the Farmers' Union of Wales county executive committee meeting next Monday evening October 4 at 7.30pm.

Mr Llwyd has close connections with the county branch and has a keen interest in agriculture and rural issues. The meeting will be held at Neuadd y Cyfnod, Bala.

It will be an opportunity for discussion on matters such as the forthcoming Common Agricultural Policy reform, the impact of UK Government polices on the rural economy of Wales and the likely outcome of the new Coalition's spending review.

Defra and the Welsh Assembly Government's new bovine TB eradication proposals and concerns regarding the Glastir scheme will also be discussed.

FUW WELCOMES EID RULES RELAXATION

The Farmers' Union of Wales today welcomed European Commission indications that it will not punish sheep farmers for electronic identification (EID) errors beyond their control.

The EC's reported decision follows strenuous lobbying from Scottish MEP Alyn Smith and the FUW who raised the issue several times with the Welsh Assembly Government and even launched a petition to the Prime Minister which gained the support of 1,000 UK farmers.

"We have regularly pointed out the very real worries of Welsh farmers that they would be forced to pay heavy cross-compliance penalties as they grappled with the new EID regulations which came into force last January," said the FUW's hill farming committee chairman, Llangurig sheep farmer Derek Morgan.

Mr Smith had called on the Commission to give farmers a three-year amnesty while new EID technology was initiated. They declined to agree to an amnesty but a spokesman confirmed this week it would adopt "a proportionate" approach for farmers.

"In this context, failures, breakdowns, shortcomings, which are not within the range of influence of the keeper but casually determined by the technology used and within the normal error rate of that technology should not be sanctioned," the spokesman added.

The Commission also indicated it would not "automatically" penalise farmers where "one ear tag is missing".

Welcoming the news, Mr Morgan recalled telling the Assembly's rural development sub-committee in March last year that the union believed there were sufficient grounds for the EU Ombudsman to investigate the fact that farmers were being forced to use a technology that had been shown to have major flaws.

"I have first hand experience of EID, having used it on a small proportion of my Welsh Mountain sheep for the past seven years, and found that the technology is not sufficiently developed to be practical for the average Welsh flock. This has also been the experience of the vast majority of farmers and slaughterhouses that took part in recent trials.

"Even when dealing with a small number of sheep that are electronically identified, we are forced to manually record information on paper due to reliability issues with the technology. It's all very well using it to record and monitor a small specialist flock, but scaling its use up for every sheep in the country is madness."

In a written submission to the sub-committee's EID inquiry, the FUW emphasised the particular problems the regulation would bring for Welsh farmers, highlighting the fact that 80% of Wales comprises Less Favoured land, and that Welsh farms are therefore dependent upon moving animals from the mountains into the lowlands for wintering.

The FUW's petition, in the name of vice president Glyn Roberts, stressed that compulsory EID meant the increasing financial and practical burdens placed upon UK farmers would put them at a competitive disadvantage compared with importers into the EU.

It underlined farmers' concerns that the EID technology had major flaws including reliability, which brought into question the credibility of the decision to impose it from last January.

Mr Smith said the EC's latest move was encouraging news for farmers operating an imperfect technology. The sub-standard technology puts UK farmers at risk of having their Single Farm Payment docked for reasons beyond their control.

He said he would soon meet with the Commission to reinforce this point and to secure further clarity on their stance.

FUW SLAMS HUGE FUEL DUTY AND LACK OF BROADBAND IN RURAL WALES

Punitive fuel duty rates - amounting to well over two-thirds of the price of diesel and petrol - plus the lack of broadband access are creating major problems for farmers and other people living in rural Wales, according to the Farmers' Union of Wales.

As it emerged that a North Wales filling station was this week charging 127.9p per litre for diesel, which included a massive 81.03p fuel duty, FUW president Gareth Vaughan bitterly complained: "Rural dwellers are being ripped off by such huge fuel costs."

According to the AA, this month's average prices in Wales are 118.7p for a litre of diesel (75.20p fuel duty) and 115.8p for a litre of unleaded petrol (74.69p duty).

"But because of a lack of public transport in many rural areas of Wales farmers, other business people and individuals have no alternative other than to use their own vehicles," said Mr Vaughan.

He revealed the views of the union's 12 county branches were included in its response to the Welsh Office's "Rural Economy Project" consultation which also listed other problems for Welsh farmers such as proposed increased Meat Hygiene Service inspection charges and the serious impact recent Post Office closures have had for individuals and businesses in rural areas.

In a letter to Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales David Jones MP, the FUW stressed many rural businesses already pay far higher tax levels than their competitors and called for a tax rebate for rural dwellers.

The union pointed out that 4x4 vehicles were a necessity for many individuals and businesses in rural areas due to a range of factors, including the poor standards of access to houses and business premises in rural areas, and the prioritisation of major trunk roads by Local Authorities during adverse weather conditions.

"The current vehicle taxation system means 4x4 owners pay far higher vehicle tax rates than owners of normal vehicles. Yet the system takes no account of the fact that those who own such vehicles do so out of necessity rather than choice.

"Nor does the system take into account the fact that 4x4 owners already pay higher taxes because the level of duty paid on fuel is directly proportionate to the amount of fuel used."

On meat hygiene inspection charges, the union stressed the introduction of a new time-based charging regime will mean a significant rise in the costs of running slaughterhouses, particularly for small and medium sized slaughterhouses.

"Such slaughterhouses provide important local services for farmers and the public, ensuring that animals and meat are not transported over large distances, and that niche and value added markets can be accessed."

With an increase in inspection charges, many slaughterhouses are likely to find it economically unviable to continue operating. "Closures would mean the loss of local businesses which rely on selling locally produced and processed food."

The union pointed out that almost a fifth of houses are further than five kilometres from a BT exchange and broadband cannot be accessed.

"Within rural areas, this figure is much higher and it has been estimated that in areas such as Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Flintshire more than 40% of all households are unable to access broadband at speeds greater than 2Mbps.

"While the Welsh Assembly Government's Broadband Support Scheme is naturally welcome, it is believed that Westminster Government should also take steps to encourage and accelerate the roll-out of broadband in rural areas.

"The Inland Revenue now requires all tax returns to be filed on line, while a number of other government agencies, such as British Cattle Movement Services, are moving towards internet, rather than paper-based services.

"While the reasoning behind such moves is apparent, no account is taken of the lack of access to online services in rural areas where broadband is not available. Paper alternatives to online submissions of information should be available to all those for whom internet access is not an option."

FUW SAYS FARM TOURISM LOST OUT FOLLOWING ASSEMBLY MERGER

Since the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) took control over the Wales Tourist Board there has been less involvement with the farm tourism sector, the Farmers' Union of Wales has told AMs.

Responding to the Assembly's rural development committee inquiry into rural tourism, the union revealed that its members believed that there was less engagement on tourism issues since the merger of the board into the WAG.

"Our farm diversification committee enjoyed a close working relationship with the Wales Tourist Board and was actively involved with consultations on tourism-related strategies," said committee chairman Deilwen Breese. "However many of the existing strategies and action plans have not been reviewed since the merger.

"Farming creates and maintains the landscape which visitors enjoy and also produces the food which can boost their enjoyment of the countryside but the introduction of the Single Investment Fund (SIF) - part of the range of support offered through the WAG's Flexible Support for Business programme - had created a great deal of confusion within the industry.

"Farmers complain of a lack of information and guidance about the fund which they claim is complicated and bureaucratic to apply for, particularly by small businesses," Mrs Breese added.

"Many farm-based rural tourism businesses are usually run as part of the family business which does not necessarily create new jobs but does keep existing family members on the farm. This sort of job security is as important as job creation when weighing up potential grant bids.

"Farm tourism operators fear that priority is being given to promoting facilities around urban areas and while events like the Ryder Cup will attract media attention and public investment, they are not convinced they will benefit from these initiatives.

"The FUW calls for closer involvement with the Assembly Government as a first step in improving support for rural tourism. It also believes that existing strategies need to be revisited and reviewed to ensure that they remain fit for purpose."

FUW WELCOMES LAUNCH OF WELSH BADGER CULL CONSULTATION

The Farmers' Union of Wales has welcomed the launch by Assembly Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones of a consultation on taking forward plans to cull badgers in north Pembrokeshire to control bovine TB.

FUW's bTB spokesman Brian Walters said: "The scientific evidence shows conclusively that badgers are a major source of TB infection in cattle, and trials in both England and Ireland have led to significant drops in the number of cattle slaughtered due to this disease."

Earlier this year a scientific paper on badgers and cattle published in Statistical Communications in Infectious Diseases concluded that "TB in cattle herds could be substantially reduced, possibly even eliminated, in the absence of transmission from badgers to cattle".

"This is exactly the experience in Scotland, an area where there are relatively few badgers and those which do exist are free from bTB," said Mr Walters.

"Normal bTB testing of Scottish cattle has led to a reduction in disease incidences to the point where they have now achieved official bTB free status. In Wales, the same testing is not working because cattle are being constantly re-infected by badgers.

"Today's announcement is an important step towards addressing the epidemic in north Pembrokeshire, which has cost the lives of thousands of cattle in that area alone over the past couple of years, and causes overwhelming suffering and trauma for animals and families."

The announcement comes two months after the Badger Trust put a stop to previous plans to cull badgers in the areas following a case in the Court of Appeal.

"The appeal court ruling came as a major blow and has set disease control in Wales back significantly," Mr Walters said. "It is now important that we move on with a decision which does not fall foul of the legal loopholes taken advantage of by the Badger Trust in the previous court case."

The announcement follows the release of research by the FUW in July which suggested that a badger cull could reduce bTB incidences significantly.

"Our work shows that a badger cull carried out in the same way as during the English trials could reduce bTB incidences by between ten and thirty per cent during a five year culling period, and between twenty-five and thirty-two per cent in the three-and-a-half years after a cull," said Mr Walters.

"If a cull in north Pembrokeshire was carried out in a way that avoided the problems encountered during the English culling trials, these figures could be expected to be considerably higher.

"Ultimately, the best solution would be to vaccinate badgers with an oral vaccine, but we are many years away from having a tried and tested method of doing this.

"Some of those who oppose a cull say that catching and injecting badgers with a vaccine is the practical way forward, but this option was on the table thirty years ago and was laughed out of the room as being costly, impractical, and ineffective. I can't see that anything has changed."

FUW DISAPPOINTED AT MINISTER'S REJECTION OF WAGES BOARD FOR WALES

The Farmers' Union of Wales today expressed disappointment at Assembly Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones' decision not to set up a new Agricultural Wages Board (AWB) and committees for Wales.

The union recently contributed to the Minister's request for views on the implications to Wales of Defra's proposals to abolish the current AWB for England and Wales and its committees.

"We are extremely disappointed by her response because the FUW has always supported the AWB and remains concerned that unless there are systems in place to protect payments to agricultural workers, the industry will not attract the highly skilled technicians it needs to thrive," said the union's deputy director of agricultural policy Rhian Nowell-Phillips.

In representations to the Minister the Union highlighted its policy that it still considered the AWB to be the most effective body to determine the pay and conditions of service which reflect the unique requirements of the agricultural industry in Wales.

"As many farms in Wales run with relatively few staff, the AWB is considered an important means of avoiding potential conflict and lengthy negotiations with individual staff," Miss Nowell-Phillips stated.

The FUW strongly believes the AWB's role in setting minimum rates of pay can reflect the need for agricultural workers to be flexible in their working arrangements to cover busy periods, fine weather, and unsocial hours, which are not covered by general employment law provision.

"The Union maintains that the future of the agricultural industry is dependent on attracting highly trained technicians into the industry," Miss Nowell-Phillips added.

"The economic climate within the agricultural industry has made it a less attractive option for young people and, therefore, in the Union's view, rewarding skills, qualifications, and levels of responsibility, is a vital means of persuading high calibre people to remain in or enter the industry.

"Reliance on a single national minimum wage will inevitably result in an erosion of talent and skills from farming as more lucrative and physically less challenging professions are taken up.

"The Union believes that there needs to be arrangements put in place, to deal with enhanced terms and conditions which reflect the dedication of agricultural workers."

But in a reply to the FUW the Minister stated that in reaching her decision she had considered the additional financial costs of establishing a new AWB and committees for Wales.

"Given the ongoing budgetary pressures facing the Welsh Assembly Government, the additional not insignificant costs could simply not be justified," she added.

Commenting on the Minister's response, Miss Nowell-Phillips said: "Whilst it is a disappointing decision we will be looking for some sort of system to be established so that the principles of the AWB are continued."

FUW PRESIDENT PAYS TRIBUTE TO LORD LIVSEY

In a warm personal tribute following the death at 75 of Lord Livsey, Farmers' Union of Wales president Gareth Vaughan today described the Liberal Democrat peer as a "good friend" to agriculture in the House of Lords.

"When we had an issue it was very easy to pick up the phone to Lord Livsey," said Mr Vaughan. "It is so important for us to have people in authority who understand the ways of the countryside.

"That is not the case in many quarters, but that certainly couldn't be said of Lord Livsey, who was well versed in the ways of the agricultural industry.

"Apart from that, he was a very, very popular man and politician, and not just with his own party but across the political spectrum."

Following the death of fellow party stalwart, FUW life member Lord Geraint of Ponterwyd, Lord Livsey took over the hosting of the union's annual "Farmhouse Breakfast Week" function in the Lords and three years ago he received the FUW-Barclays Bank plc award for outstanding service to Welsh agriculture.

It was Richard Livsey's contribution to Welsh agriculture at the former Welsh Agricultural College (WAC) in Aberystwyth which caught the attention of the FUW.

Mr Vaughan said that when Mr Livsey was appointed senior lecturer in farm management and then farm manager at WAC during 1971, there were only 30 or so students at the college studying OND/HND, housed in temporary buildings.

"But when he left the college in 1985, after being elected MP for Brecon and Radnor, there were approximately 300 students there."

FUW HOLDS GLASTIR DECISION MEETING

The Welsh Assembly Government's head of CAP reform David Morris will be the main speaker at a meeting about the Glastir agri-environment scheme, organised by the Farmers' Union of Wales Meironnydd county branch, to be held at Rhydymain Village Hall, near Dolgellau, on Wednesday evening September 22 at 8pm.

Mr Morris has taken a leading role in introducing the scheme throughout Wales and the meeting will be an opportunity for farmers to finally decide if they wish to enter the scheme this year. Application forms will be sent out early next month to those who have expressed an interest and the closing date for them to be returned is November 22.

Further details about the meeting can be obtained by contacting Meirionnydd FUW County Office at Dolgellau 01341 422298.

FARMERS WARNED OF 'RABITTING' CRIME SCAM

South Wales farmers were today warned to be on the alert for three men from the Cardiff area with a pellet gun who claimed to be rabitting when the white transit van they were travelling in was spotted parked on two separate farms in the Neath area recently.

Police inspected the inside of the van - CV05 YPK - at Llwynllanc Farm, Crynant, and nothing was found but it was seen again five days later parked on a neighbouring farm.

"We are anxious to highlight this incident because there have been a lot of farm quad bikes stolen in that area recently," said Farmers' Union of Wales Glamorgan county executive officer Adrian Evans.

"The police are warning farmers that this could be just another scam by giving criminals a degree of legitimacy for being on farmers' land and having a good look around the buildings."

Police also revealed that a notable arrest was made in Aberdulais recently when two Merthyr men were apprehended for going equipped to steal. They were also using a transit van which contained empty diesel drums and siphoning equipment.

On the weekend the white transit van was seen for the second time two more criminal incidents occurred on farms near Neath. A stolen tractor was left crashed into a tree at Gellyfowy Fawr, Ynysmeudwy, Pontardawe, and a steel gate was stolen from Brynchwyth, Tonna.

"If farmers see the white van on their land or any other suspicious vehicles or intruders they should report the sighting to the police via the telephone number 101," Mr Evans added.

Meanwhile, an interesting project to help cut down on rural crime in Carmarthenshire was outlined at a meeting of the FUW's county executive meeting when Dyfed Powys Police crime reduction coordinator Brian Jones gave details of a pilot scheme being launched in the county.

The Online Watch Link (OWL) is a two-way initiative that would allow the police to pass relevant messages to the community and encourage the community to respond to the messages. The message could be of a crime prevention nature or to let the recipient know of a notable incident.

OWL is free and the message could be received via the home phone, a mobile phone, text message or, alternatively, via e-mail to the home or place of work.

For further details contact Brian Jones at Ammanford police station - Tel: 101/ext 27465, E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call FUW county executive officer Meinir Bartlett - Tel: 01267 237974.

FUW URGES EC TO RELEASE GRAIN STOCKS

A Welsh farmers' leader today called on the EC to release supplies from its intervention stock of cereals in a bid to combat soaring prices on the European market.

"There are growing fears that Welsh livestock farmers' incomes will be seriously undermined by increasing costs of animal feed due to the strong demand for grain on the world market which is driving up prices," said Farmers' Union of Wales president Gareth Vaughan.

"I am well aware that over the past month or so the price some Welsh farmers have paid for animal feed has increased by around £25 a tonne," said the Newtown sheep farmer.

The world market situation is currently dominated by the Russian export ban and Ukrainian moves to curtail grain exports following devastating droughts in both countries this summer.

"Although we have an increasing number of farmers growing cereal crops, traditional Welsh farming is still very much dominated by livestock rearing and the industry is at the mercy of ever-increasing production costs," said Mr Vaughan.

"Unfortunately, the EC is reported to have concluded that there is 'not an urgent need to release stocks from intervention'.

"But consideration of releasing such stocks, to keep grain prices in check, has continued to gather apace within the European feed industry and some member states, particularly net grain importer Spain.

"I believe the UK government should also be demanding similar action to safeguard the immediate prospects of Welsh agriculture," Mr Vaughan added.

Earlier this month the European Feed Manufacturers' Association, FEFAC, called on the Commission to release some of the five million tonnes of intervention cereals (mostly barley) which the EU currently holds.

"Placing such stocks back on the EU market is essential to help combat undue speculation and price volatility," the group said, warning that a degree of "artificial" price inflation is occurring in addition to the impact of poor harvests in key supplier countries.

FUW WELCOMES DEFRA BADGER CULL PROPOSALS

The Farmers' Union of Wales welcomed Defra's proposed additional measures to help control bovine TB in cattle and pledged to consult its members on today's announcement by Agriculture Minister Jim Paice.

"With Wales's long border with England there are obvious implications for our members in those areas and we will be consulting with them in order to make a full response to the Defra consultation," said the union's bTB spokesman Brian Walters.

Defra is proposing issuing licences to farmers and landowners who wish to cull and/or vaccinate badgers at their own expense.

These licences would be subject to strict licence criteria to ensure badger control is done effectively, humanely and with high regard for animal welfare.

Defra says culling will only be allowed in areas where there is a high incidence of bovine TB in cattle and following the consultation they intend to publish a comprehensive and balanced bovine TB eradication programme early in 2011.

Meanwhile in Wales the Assembly's Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones remains committed to eradicating bovine TB through a "comprehensive programme" despite a legal set-back earlier this summer on a proposed badger cull in south-west Wales.

She intends to make a statement to AMs on the matter shortly.

Mr Walters added: With the cost to the taxpayer expected to reach more than £30m this year, bTB remains a major concern for the Welsh Assembly Government and one of the most serious economic issues facing the Welsh farming industry.

"And for those forced to watch their businesses being closed down and their animals removed for slaughter, the emotional cost is one that cannot be assigned a monetary value."

FUW OFFERS FINANCIAL HELP TO GLAMORGANSHIRE STUDENTS

The Farmers' Union of Wales is inviting students living within the old Glamorgan county boundary - who have been accepted for a course in agriculture - to apply for a financial contribution towards books and equipment.

It is expected the union's Walter Rowlands Memorial Fund will be able to provide a total of £300 for successful students next year. This year it awarded £100 each to two Aberystwyth University students living in Glamorganshire.

Application forms and further details will be available at the union's mobile unit during this Saturday's (September 18) 51st all-Wales ploughing and hedging championships at Boverton Place Farm, near Llantwit Major.

Those wishing to apply are required to write a letter covering the following points - Your interests; Your activities; Details of the course for which you have been accepted; Your future ambitions; Why you think you should receive the award?

Letters should be sent by November 30 to Walter Rowlands Memorial Award, Farmers' Union of Wales, 58 Eastgate, Cowbridge CF71 7AB.

Mr Rowlands was the FUW's first county executive officer in Glamorganshire. He served the union from 1956 to 1985 when he passed away prematurely.

FUW HIGHLIGHTS GLASTIR HELP FOR FARMERS

An open meeting organised by the Farmers' Union of Wales' Glamorgan branch to discuss the Welsh Assembly Government's (WAG) Glastir agri-environment scheme will take place on Tuesday September 21 at Heol-y-Cyw Rugby Club, Heol-y-Cyw, near Bridgend, at 7pm.

"The meeting will give an insight into how Glastir could provide an opportunity for farm businesses," said FUW Glamorgan county executive officer Adrian Evans.

"It will also be an opportunity for farmers to obtain further guidance and clarification before making the final decision on whether to apply for Glastir. There will be a presentation about the scheme from David Morris, WAG's head of CAP reform."

Two Glastir habitat identification training events for dairy farms will be held during the next few weeks - at Gelli Aur, Llandeilo, on September 30 and Llysfasi, Ruthin, on October 1. Contact the Dairy Development Centre on 01554 748570 for further details.

WAG officials are also holding Glastir surgeries for farms across Wales in October and November. They will not be able to help farmers complete application forms or take in completed application forms.

And before attending a surgery farmers are advised to check their application form in advance, whilst noting the points threshold required to enter the scheme.

To obtain maximum benefit from attending a surgery farmers should take along their 2010 SAF maps, details of any other agri-environment schemes they are currently participating in (maps and agreements) and any other information they think will help.

All surgeries are being held from 10.30am - 6pm in the following WAG divisional office areas.

CAERNARFON: October 14 - Ruabon Village Hall, Ruabon, Wrexham; October 18 - Henfaes Research Centre, Bangor University, Abergwyngregyn; October 21 - Caerwys Town Hall, Caerwys, Mold; October 25 - Bull Hotel, Llangefni; October 27 - Y Ganolfan, Porthmadog; November 1 - Coleg Meirion Dwyfor, Dolgellau; and November 2 - Stafell y Plwyf, Cerrigydrudion, Corwen.

LLANDRINDOD WELLS: October 15 - Llandinam Village Hall, Llandinam; October 18 - Penybont Community Centre, Penybont, Llandrindod Wells; October 22 - Coleg Gwent, The Rhadyr, Usk; October 27 - The Welfare, Brecon Road, Ystradgynlais; October 29 - Guilsfield Old School, Guilsfield; November 3 - Town Hall, High Street, Cowbridge; and November 5 - Brecon Livestock Market.

CARMARTHEN: October 12 - Llandovery Rugby Club; October 14 - Llety Ceiro, Bow Street, near Aberystwyth; October 20 - Picton Centre, Haverfordwest; October 21 - Black Lion Hotel, Llanybydder; October 26 - Crymych Rugby Club; and November 4 - Forge Motel, St Clears.

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/