Recently-appointed HSBC Bank head of agriculture, Aberystwyth University graduate Allan Wilkinson, will be the guest speaker at the Farmers' Union of Wales' annual eve of the Welsh Dairy Show reception at the United Counties Showground near Carmarthen on Monday October 18 at 7.30pm.

The function will follow a visit in the afternoon (starting at 2pm) to the dairy farm of FUW members Keith and Linda Hughes, of Caeau Newydd, Dryslwyn, Carmarthen.

Together with their son James, the family currently farm under a "New Zealand" method of spring calving, with an extended grazing period, and milking 310 cows - mainly Jersey cross breed cattle.

They also have 180 followers away from the farm under contract rearing.

Mr Wilkinson, 46, is responsible for the bank's farming customers in the UK, leading the specialist agriculture team of over 60 managers.

A farmer's son, he was born and raised in North East England and has been involved with farming throughout his career.

Having obtained a degree in agriculture from Aberystwyth University, he worked as a farm management consultant in Leicestershire for three years before joining HSBC Bank in 1988 as an agriculture banking manager in Shropshire and Herefordshire.

He was appointed senior agriculture banking manager for Cumbria and the North East in 1994 and divisional agriculture manager for Northern Counties, Northern Ireland and Scotland in 1998.

For the last six and a half years he has held a number of senior leadership posts in the retail and commercial bank network leading teams in Northern England and, more recently, as area commercial director in Newcastle and Northumberland.


Montgomeryshire AM Mick Bates will attend a meeting of the county's Farmers' Union of Wales executive committee at Banw Community Centre, Llangadfan, tomorrow evening Tuesday September 7 at 7.30pm.

"I'm pretty sure the Assembly Government's Glastir agri-environment scheme will be one of the main issues members will want to discuss with him," said county executive officer Susan Jones.


The British Wool Marketing Board's producer relations manager Gareth Jones will attend the Farmers' Union of Wales' Merioneth county executive committee meeting at the Ship Hotel, Dolgellau, at 7.30pm next Monday September 6 to give a presentation on the board's activities.

Appointed in December 2008, Mr Jones has responsibility for developing and maintaining the board's producer relations and communications, as well as working closely with farming unions and other agricultural bodies.

Formerly the FUW's county executive officer in Denbigh, he has many links with the Welsh farming community and key stakeholder groups. Before joining the FUW he worked for British Wool for 14 years at its Denbigh depot and he has extensive knowledge of the board's role and the key issues affecting wool producers.


Members of the Farmers' Union of Wales's common land committee have expressed extreme concern about the implications of the Welsh Assembly Government's (WAG) new Glastir scheme for upland communities.

Committee chairman, Rhymney farmer Lorraine Howells, has now written to Assembly opposition environment and agriculture party spokesmen stressing the disruption that the introduction of Glastir after 2011 could cause for upland communities which rely on common land.

"While we would encourage every commoner and graziers' association to look into the possibility of getting their common into the Glastir scheme, we have major concerns about the practicality of doing this for many commons," she said.

"The introduction of the Glastir scheme represents one of the most significant changes for upland communities seen for more than half a century, and failure to enter the scheme will represent the loss of vast sums of money for some local economies."

Miss Howells explained that the vast majority of common land - about eight per cent of Wales's total land area - is categorised as Less Favoured, and 18 per cent of Welsh farmers declare common land on their Single Application Forms. "In some areas, communities are almost entirely reliant on their common grazing rights.

"Recognition of the specific handicaps faced on such land, and the risk of land abandonment and rural depopulation, led to the Hill Farming Act being passed in the immediate post-war period, and has effectively meant support for these areas since the introduction of the 1947 Agricultural Act. However, the introduction of the Glastir scheme represents the abandonment of such payments.

"The EU rules associated with agri-environmental schemes, which are far more restrictive than those which apply to Less Favoured Area payments, bring with them inherent difficulties for common land as they do not properly take into account the unique nature of common land management in the UK."

During the committee meeting members expressed concern that, while there may well be commons where the majority agree that they want, or have little financial alternatives but to sign up to Glastir, the chances of this majority being large enough to meet the 80% criteria set by WAG and the EC may be slim.

"Even if more than 80% do agree to participate, many feel that they will still not take the risk of entering the scheme and incurring penalties as a result of the actions of the minority who decide they wish to continue exercising their full legal rights to graze an individual common."

There is also the concern that those who rely upon common land for 365 days a year, because they have relatively little normal farmland, will be unable to enter the Glastir scheme without reducing their stocking numbers to the extent that their businesses become unviable, and that this will preclude participation.

Members were also concerned that the WAG's decision will mean competitors in other regions of Europe will continue to receive LFA payments which aid production, while Welsh farmers who face similar handicaps will have to make their farms less productive to access equivalent funds, thus undermining the very principles of the European Common Market.

"The FUW has long argued that the Tir Mynydd scheme should be continued, and that any necessary changes should be made over a prolonged period, by adapting the current LFA scheme, as was proposed in the relevant WAG consultation and supported by the Rural Development Sub Committee," said Miss Howells.

"We have also called for delaying the implementation of the Glastir scheme by 12 months in order to seek ways to address the numerous concerns we have; a move which would also ease the significant pressures that implementing Glastir over such a short timescale represents for WAG staff at a time of significant budgetary pressures.

"The union's reasoning for adopting these positions remains completely valid and, as various deadlines approach and changes continue to be made to the scheme, our concern that the implementation timetable is inappropriate grows.

"These concerns have already been made clear to Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones and her officials. However, the committee felt it was important to reiterate these to opposition spokesmen."


Visitors to the Farmers' Union of Wales stand at Usk Show on Saturday September 11 will be invited to fill in the Welsh Assembly Government's Glastir agri-environment scheme scorecard to discover whether they can obtain sufficient points to gain entry into the scheme.
"The promotion of local produce will be the main theme on the stand but members will also be able to have a go at the Glastir scorecard to see if they will be able to achieve enough points to enter the scheme," said FUW Gwent county executive officer Glyn Davies.
"The Usk show is the last on the regular calendar and is the show piece of agriculture in Gwent with exhibitors being restricted from within the county. Showgoers will get a warm welcome on our stand," Mr Davies added.


The Farmers' Union of Wales insurance arm FUW Insurance will sponsor the big Ceredigion rugby derby when Aberystwyth host Newcastle Emlyn on Saturday September 11.

Both teams met regularly until 2009 when Aberystwyth were promoted to the WRU National League's Division 2 and they now find themselves in the same division following Newcastle Emlyn's promotion. "So we are delighted to sponsor this eagerly awaited fixture," said the FUW's director of business development Emyr James.

"We welcome all our long standing and potentially new insurance customers to join us at the match which is guaranteed to be closely contested.


The Farmers' Union of Wales insurance arm FUW Insurance will be well represented on Saturday September 4 at Sennybridge Show at Dickens Field in the middle of the village near Brecon.

"Our exhibition unit will be present and all farmers are invited to meet FUW county representatives for a cuppa and a chat," said the union's director of business development Emyr James.

"Sennybridge Show has a truly community feel about it and the organisers say a great day should be had by all."


Items donated by Dwyfor-Meirionnydd's MP and AM are high on the list of desirables for a promise auction to raise funds for the Wales Air Ambulance service which is Farmers' Union of Wales president Gareth Vaughan's chosen charity this year.

Elfyn Llwyd has offered a tour of the Houses of Parliament with a meal for two and National Assembly presiding officer Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas will do the same at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay.

The event, which takes place on Friday evening September 3 on FUW deputy president Emyr Jones' family farm at Rhiwaedog, near Bala, will also include a Hog Roast and live entertainment.

Tickets at £6 are available from the FUW's county office in Dolgellau by phoning 01341 422298 or via e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The event follows a farm walk during the afternoon arranged by the British Grassland Society in conjunction with the FUW and sponsored by Hybu Cig Cymru and Farming Connect.

"Mr Jones and his two sons won the 2008 British Grassland Society's National Grassland Management competition and the farm is noted for the excellence of its farming enterprise," said FUW Meirionnydd county executive officer Huw Jones.

Lunch and the farm walk is free for those registering in advance with the British Grassland Society on 02476 696600 or via e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Major crop failures in the Black Sea region and the natural disaster currently devastating Pakistan should focus EU Commission thinking on food security, according to Farmers' Union of Wales' Meirionnydd county chairman Robert Wyn Evans.

Speaking today (Wednesday August 25) at the Merioneth County Show in Harlech, he said adverse weather had led to Russia's barley crop being at its lowest level in 40 years, forcing the country to ban grain exports.

In Pakistan, severe flooding has resulted in the loss of more than 200,000 livestock and 700,000 hectares of crops being submerged or destroyed.

"While our hearts go out to those affected by the terrible natural disaster in Pakistan, the recent impact of severe weather on harvests should come as a stark warning to Europe that we must ensure a vibrant agricultural sector," said Mr Evans.

"In the coming months, important decisions will be made about the future of agriculture in the EU after 2013. If those decisions do not recognise the importance of EU food and crop production, this is likely to lead to an increased reliance on countries outside the EU.

"That would not be acceptable and the recent collapses in production in major crop producing areas of the world, coupled with the decision by Russia to ban exports to protect its own people, demonstrate the danger of relying increasingly on other countries."

The EU is currently considering the future of the Common Agricultural Policy after 2013, and some fear that financial pressures within the EU will lead to agriculture and rural communities being sidelined.

Meanwhile, fears of a repeat of 2008's global food shortages have led to significant volatility in grain prices. However, market analysts have attempted to calm fears by claiming that global supplies are sufficient to meet demand.

"We do not yet know whether these severe losses in crop production will lead to the type of global food crisis seen in 2007 and 2008 but policy makers who ignore the these warning signs place every European citizen in danger," Mr Evans added.

"Food is a commodity we cannot do with out. In a world with a growing population and increased risks of severe weather Europe must have a Common Agricultural Policy which recognises this.

"The FUW firmly believes that protection of the family farm should be at the heart of the Common Agricultural Policy, and that this is the key to ensuring sustainable European agriculture and food production."


The Farmers' Union of Wales' Meirionnydd branch today (Wednesday August 25) appealed to farmers to take advantage of the Welsh Assembly Government's (WAG) new scheme to assist those hit by difficulties obtaining broadband reception.

The £2m funding scheme, announced early last month, offers support up to a maximum of £1,000 for individual premises.

FUW Meirionnydd county chairman Robert Wyn Evans said it was important for members to be aware of this scheme as there were many broadband "not-spots" in the county and many other parts of rural Wales.

The union has already assisted members in the Cwmtirmynach, Bala area who are preparing quotations to accompany the completed application forms to WAG.

Mr Evans said broadband was now becoming essential to farmers with so many requiring the facility for reporting cattle movements, completion of VAT returns and many other services.

"Many see access to the internet as critical for living and working in rural areas such as Meirionnydd, and we warmly welcome this initiative from the Assembly Government," Mr Evans added.

He also revealed that FUW county branch staff would assist members with the scheme's booklets and information at its stand at today's (Wednesday August 25) Merioneth County Show in Harlech.


The Farmers' Union of Wales today welcomed a Welsh Assembly Government decision to extend the deadline by three weeks for farmers to apply to join the All-Wales Element of the new Glastir agri-environment scheme after recently adding an additional option within the scheme.

"Obviously, we welcome the decision to move the deadline forward but in reality it will create even more confusion for farmers trying to come to terms with an already complicated scheme," said the FUW's land use committee chairman Richard Vaughan, of Tywyn, Meirionnydd.

"We feel strongly that such confusion could have been avoided. We have lobbied long and hard, stressing that Glastir was far too hastily drawn up without enough consideration given to how practical it would be for farmers.

"We have repeatedly called for all the details to be properly put in place before the scheme was opened so that this inevitable confusion could have been avoided. This latest deferment just adds to the conflicting advice circulating within the farming community."

Application packs will now be issued from October 4 and farmers will have until November 22 to return their completed application form.


Young farmer Neil Perkins' decision to convert his family's beef and sheep farm to a low-cost sheep business financially successful in an environment without subsidies has helped him reap the Farmers' Union of Wales Pembrokeshire branch's Countryside Award.

One of the judges, FUW county president Dafydd Williams, said: "The winner demonstrated a clear vision of what he wished to do following a visit to New Zealand on a Nuffield scholarship. His father agreed and their plan was supported by their landlords, the National Trust."

Mr Perkins, 30, of Dinas Island Farm, Newport, Pembrokeshire, said: "Farming has always been a passion of mine and an industry I have always wanted to be involved with. Having grown up helping my father on the farm I then went to study agriculture at the Welsh Agricultural College in Aberystwyth.

"After a couple of years there I returned home to work on the farm full time. I then wanted to take the business a step forward which gave me the incentive to apply for a Nuffield farming scholarship with the intention of bringing the farm into the modern era of agriculture.

"My aim is to produce lamb profitably off a low input grass-based system without subsidies and be able to market the lambs on the back of this."

Mr Williams agreed that Mr Perkins has a clear understanding of the industry as it moves into a period of much lower financial support from Government. "He is convinced that finance for business investment should be generated by the business in advance of expenditure and that current surpluses resulting from the Single Farm Payment should be invested elsewhere.

"He is also strongly committed to disseminating the information he acquired in New Zealand and showing how it can be practiced in Wales."

Mr Perkins was nominated for the Countryside Award by Future Farmers of Wales (FFW) chairman Rhys Lougher who stated: "Neil is an outstanding example of a professional young farmer.

"He has taken time away from the business to study agriculture through college and more recently on global travel through the Nuffield Scholarship. He has transferred this new knowledge back into practical ways of improving his family farm.

"Dinas Island farm is now well noted for the quality of the sheep stock and its high standards of grassland management. Neil also plays a key role in the wider agricultural community of West Wales and in developing other young farmers through his work and involvement in the Future Farmers of Wales Club of which he will be chairman for 2011/2012."

Mr Perkins, who became director of the family farm business in 2002, is married to Lynda and they have three children Osian (7), Chloe (6) and Sion (2). In 2005 he was a finalist in the Lantra land-based learner of the year competition and a finalist in last year's Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales "Face of Welsh Lamb" competition.

He will be presented with the award, £100 and one year's free membership of the FUW in the Grand Arena at the Pembrokeshire County Show at 2.15pm on Tuesday, August 17.


Narberth community primary school pupils have swept the board in a Farmers' Union of Wales competition based on farming which was held for schools in Pembrokeshire.

The winners of the three categories and their school will be presented with their prizes at noon on Wednesday August 18 in the FUW marquee (stand number B36) during the Pembrokeshire County Show.

The competition, launched in June when the FUW's Pembrokeshire county executive officer Rebecca Williams wrote to all schools in the county, attracted 277 entries and was sponsored by Carmarthen & Pumsaint Farmers' Ltd, J E Lawrence & Son Ltd and the county's FUW 200+ Club.

Category 1 was won by Gwenllian Evans for her hand drawing of a farm scene; Category 2 was won by Anna Phillips and Sali Lewis who submitted a joint entry of a model of a sheep and the winner of Category 3 was Finley Griffiths for his poem entitled "The Farm".

FUW county chairman Dai Miles, who was also one of the judges, said: "All the judges were very impressed with the high standard of entries in all three categories of the competition and we had a very difficult task in choosing the winners."

The winner of each category will receive a £10 gift voucher and a goody bag for themselves, with a cheque for £30, together with £40 worth of Carmarthen & Pumsaint Farmers' Ltd vouchers, being presented to their school for use in developing their school garden.

The head teacher of Narberth CP School Edna Davies, who will be attending the presentation of prizes, was thrilled with her winning pupils and all of those who had taken part. She said the competition had fitted in well with a project which the school had been undertaking about farming during the last school year.

The winning entries and all of the other entries will be on display at the FUW marquee throughout the show.


A West Wales farmer today called for Chinese lanterns to be banned after a total of 10 fell on his fields on three separate occasions over the past three months.

Former Farmers' Union of Wales Pembrokeshire county chairman Griff Owen said six lanterns came down together in grazing fields on his farm alongside the Cleddau estuary at Oxland Lane, Burton, near Milford Haven, in May. Two more were discovered about three weeks ago and the remaining two the weekend before last.

"The first six were the most dangerous threat to livestock because the main frame was made up of a circular piece of thickish wire, to which the paper canopy was attached, and the candle wick was held by a criss-cross of thinner wire. Had they landed some 20 to 30 yards further away they would have been in silage fields.

"They could have then been picked up by the forage harvester and come the winter months we would have found wire inside our cows' stomachs. This type of lantern is the worst.

"The second lot we found had a circular wooden frame but it still had a criss-cross of thin wire holding the candle wick and the most recent lot were the environmental-friendly type with a wooden frame and thick cotton holding the wick.

"We have no idea who launched them as all three lots came from different directions. I think they should all be banned - even the so-called environment-friendly ones because they are not completely safe. I spotted the cows, who are pretty inquisitive, licking the last two to come down and who knows what problems they could suffer as a result.

"Consumers are always talking about the maintaining the welfare of livestock and then they let these things go up and, inevitably, they come back down on to our farmland."

The FUW has carried out an all-Wales survey of the problems created by Chinese lanterns and received reports of similar incidents in Flintshire, Glamorganshire and Carmarthenshire.

FUW's Glamorganshire county executive officer Adrian Evans said the son of a member was checking livestock at about 10pm one evening when he discovered a Chinese lantern had landed in a barn.

"It could very well have set the barn and it contents of hay and straw on fire as the lantern was still smouldering," Mr Evans added.

For sale on the internet for as little as £1.99 each, Chinese lanterns can fly for up to 20 minutes and rise over a mile into the sky. Traditionally flown during Chinese and Thai celebrations, they have been used for nearly 2,000 years.


[caption id="attachment_4851" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Gareth Vaughan and Elin Jones during her visit to his farm. Gareth Vaughan and Elin Jones during her visit to his farm.[/caption]

Following intensive lobbying an 11th hour addition of a new eligibility option for maintaining existing fences on stock-excluded woodland in the National Assembly's Glastir scheme underlines the Farmers' Union of Wales arguments for a delay in the scheme's introduction, a union leader said today.

"With just three months to go before the November 1 closing date for Glastir applications, the addition of this new option, whilst welcome, proves that our calls for a delay are completely justified as farmers are still struggling with the complexities of the scheme," said the chairman of the union's land use committee Richard Vaughan.

"The FUW has consistently argued that fenced off woodland should be an inherent part of the scheme but it has taken a long time for the Assembly to put this in place and we are concerned that these last minute changes are adding to the confusion amongst farmers.

"This confirms our prolonged concerns that the scheme has been too hastily devised with insufficient thought put into how practical it would be for farmers.

"We now find ourselves in a position where we have been lobbying hard for these new options whilst remaining frustrated at the time it has taken for the Assembly to adopt the suggestions which will help make the scheme more accessible for farmers," said Mr Vaughan.

The union's concerns were reiterated during its annual general meeting, which was addressed by rural affairs minister Elin Jones, and during her recent visit to FUW president Gareth Vaughan's farm at Dolfor, near Newtown.

"Each of the scheme's options has been allocated a set number of points for various land management projects and to exclude woodland from the All-Wales element of Glastir, despite it being an important feature of previous schemes, was baffling. For many farms, dairy in particular, the omission could have meant exclusion from the scheme," said Mr Vaughan.

"We now welcome the belated acceptance of our demand as a positive step forward but regrettably many issues about the scheme still remain of concern to our members," he added.

The aims of Option 40 are to encourage the continued growth of trees and shrubs to maintain the fabric of the woodland; and to enhance the character of the landscape.

Management requirements include:

This option is available on single blocks of existing broadleaved/conifer woodland with a minimum area of 0.5ha as defined on the National Forestry Index irrespective of whether they have been fenced under a previous scheme.

Any woodland entered into a current Tir Gofal, Improved Land Premium, Woodland Grant Scheme, Better Woodlands For Wales, Farm Woodland Premium Scheme and Farm Woodland scheme is not eligible for this option.

The existing fence must be maintained to exclude stock for the lifetime of the contract. If no existing fence is present it is acceptable to erect a new fence to ensure the area is stock excluded. (Points available for this option are for the maintenance of an existing fence only - existing from the start date of AWE Glastir contract)

Stock must be excluded at all times.

The woodland must not be used for supplementary feeding.

The rules for habitat under the Whole Farm Code will apply to the woodland entered into this option.


The Farmers' Union of Wales today stressed that its campaign against Brazilian beef imports is totally justified following the European Ombudsman's strong criticism of the European Commission's delay in banning such imports in 2008 in a bid to deal with risks from foot and mouth disease.

The FUW joined forces with the Fairness for Farmers in Europe action group of British and Irish farming organisations in July 2007 to lodge a formal complaint to the European Ombudsman that the Commission should have imposed a complete import ban on Brazilian beef because of potential animal health threats.

Foot and mouth disease is a highly contagious viral disease affecting certain animals, in particular, cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and deer. Different zones in Brazil have different foot and mouth disease statuses and the World Organisation for Animal Health considers that only one State in Brazil is foot and mouth disease-free without vaccination.

Certain zones in Brazil are "foot and mouth disease-free with vaccination". All other zones in Brazil are "not foot and mouth disease-free". The EU is currently recognised by the World Organisation for Animal Health as being "foot and mouth disease-free without vaccination".

FUW's deputy president Emyr Jones said that during the Ombudsman's investigation the Commission agreed that serious deficiencies in the Brazilian beef control system had indeed been identified and although it imposed import restrictions it rejected an outright ban.

Those restrictions still left 412 Brazilian cattle farms eligible to export to the EU, compared to around 10,000 previously.

"We felt the restrictions were not strong enough because, following a fact-finding mission to Brazil in November 2007, the EU's own Food and Veterinary Office identified 'serious' deficiencies in the Brazilian system of sanitary controls," said Mr Jones.

The Ombudsman pointed out that the Commission did not immediately impose special conditions on all imports of beef from Brazil once it had analysed the report of the November 2007 mission.

Rather, it allowed consignments of meat, for which veterinary certificates were issued prior to 31 January 2008 and which were "en route" to the EU at that date, to be imported into the EU until 15 March 2008.

"The Commission failed to justify adequately why it permitted, between 1 February 2008 and 15 March 2008, imports of consignments of beef from Brazil into the EU," the Ombudsman added. He also noted that the Commission's decision states that the purpose of the exception was to "avoid disruption of trade".

Mr Jones said: "We believe the Commission should have taken more stringent measures to prevent Brazilian beef from entering the EU and we welcome the Ombudsman's criticism of the Commission for allowing Brazilian beef imports into the EU from 10,000 unapproved farms between February and March 2008.

"The Ombudsman has also demanded that the Commission continues regular inspections outside the EU to ensure necessary standards of animal and public health are respected before food is imported into the EU. His ruling vindicates our decision to make this complaint."

The Ombudsman stated that the Commission should continue to conduct regular missions to third countries for the purposes of carrying out systematic checks to ensure that such countries not only propose, but also adopt and keep in place adequate phytosanitary controls.

"Adequate phytosanitary controls should provide at least an equivalent level of protection as is provided within the EU," the Ombudsman added.

Mr Jones said: "We believe the Ombudsman has delivered a clear signal to the Commission that any continuing or future failure to impose such import restrictions would mean that the Commission would be guilty of maladministration."

Meanwhile, the FUW maintains its 'Buy The Welsh One' campaign is more relevant than ever and it is pleased that Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) is supporting the union's presence on the National Eisteddfod Maes at Ebbw Vale this week.

Eisteddfodwyr can find Welsh Beef and Welsh Lamb, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and cider - all produced locally - on the union's stand where they can also pick up a copy of HCC's popular book for children Cool2Cook2 featuring recipes for meaty tomato pasta; sticky carrot and orange muffins; Welsh Lamb stir fry; Welsh Lamb patties; beefy chip-topped pie; stir-fry fruit; spicy Welsh Lamb koftas; and sweet and sour pork.

Also featured on the stand is the Community Food Co-operative Programme in Wales which supports the Welsh Assembly Government's local sourcing action plan and encourages the reduction of food miles and more sustainable practices.

It supports local growing and purchasing of fruit and vegetables where possible and creates greater links between urban and rural areas. A pilot scheme for Welsh meat and fish is also being worked on.

"The programme has gone from strength to strength, with over 270 community food co-operatives running to date, over 80 of which are in schools, providing fruit and vegetables to approximately 6,500 families and engaging around 1,500 volunteers," said the programme's Welsh produce manager Mark Jones.

The programme sells around 11,000 bags of fruit and vegetables per week at £2.50 and £3 a bag - an average of 60 bags per food co-op. An average bag of fruit, vegetables or salad can feed a family of four people.

Currently nine growers, 32 retailers, 22 wholesalers and one social enterprise supply the food co-operatives. The retailers and wholesalers are selected on the basis that they provide as much local produce as possible. One of the growers supplies more than 50 of the co-operatives in North Wales.


Farm tenants on the 23,000-acre Vyrnwy Estate - surrounding the popular Lake Vyrnwy tourist attraction - which is up for sale at around £11m have expressed fears for their future at a meeting organised by the Farmers' Union of Wales' Montgomeryshire county branch.

They are concerned the sale of the estate could lead to major changes in their tenancies. FUW Montgomeryshire county chairman Alwyn Watkins said they feared a new owner could take a firmer stance with its management approach.

The estate is the largest single block of land to come to the market in living memory. For sale on a 125-year lease, it includes almost 12,000 acres of farmland, 5,000 acres of woodland, 13 let farms and 31 let residential and commercial buildings.

The 1,113-acre Lake Vyrnwy is also owned by Severn Trent Water and supplies fresh water to Liverpool.

Mr Watkins, who chaired the meeting, said afterwards: "The majority of tenants are on Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 tenancies and have been assured of their situation in respect of their tenancies, but a new owner of the estate would probably take a more robust approach to its management in the future.

"The tenants were alerted that moves may be made to introduce changes to clauses in their agreements, such as responsibility for repairs etc, and they were also made aware of the importance of seeking advice at rent reviews.

"This sale could mean a major change for the local community in Llanwddyn and for the farmers who farm the land on the estate."

Also present at the meeting were FUW's director of business development Emyr James; land agent and agricultural tenancy experts from Davis Meade Property Consultants, of Oswestry; and a representative of Gamlins Solicitors, Bangor.

"It was explained to the tenants what was involved in a lease arrangement and how this could impact on their farming business and the local community," said Mr James.

Mr Watkins added: "This is likely to be a major change for the local community here in Llanwddyn and for the farmers who farm the land on the estate. The meeting was obviously valued by the tenant farmers judging by the number that were present.

"We will continue to monitor the situation with this sale with great interest


The poignant manner in which TV farming programme presenter Adam Henson reported on bovine TB testing on his Cotswold farm was one of the reasons why he has been chosen as the first winner of the Farmers' Union of Wales Bob Davies Memorial Award.

In a recent episode of BBC ONE's popular Sunday evening Countryfile programme, Adam could barely disguise his emotions after losing one of the two splendid Longhorn steers he spent months training to work as draft oxen.

The award - in memory of Farmers Weekly Wales correspondent Bob Davies, of Welshpool, who died last November, aged 69 - is offered to a media personality who has raised the public profile of Welsh farming.

Adam has delivered thousands of lambs on his 1,625-acre farm in the Cotswolds. As well as managing more than 1,000 sheep, his farm also includes the Cotswold Farm Park, which has more than 50 flocks and herds of rare-breed farm animals including 198 pigs, 14 Highland cattle and 15 different breeds of sheep.

His passion for rare breeds was passed down from his father and, since 2001, Adam has been a regular presenter on Countryfile, reporting on his own fortunes in the regular feature Adam's Farm.

He has also reported live from Jim and Kate Beavans' sheep farm near Abergavenny for BBC TWO's recent BBC Lambing Live series. The Beavans are a sheep-farming dynasty in the foothills of the Brecon Beacon where they run two farms as one business.

Lambing Live reported live from the main farm where Jim is responsible for the day-to-day running and he and Kate took on the lion's share of training Adam's co-presenter Kate Humble how to deliver lambs.

Adam was unavailable to receive his award from FUW president Gareth Vaughan at a reception during the Royal Welsh Show this evening (Wednesday July 21 at 6.30pm) due to a busy filming schedule for Countryfile.

However, in true Hollywood Oscars style, a DVD clip of his acceptance speech was played to guests at Mr Vaughan's reception and the Beavans accepted the award - a shepherd's crook made by Hywel Evans of Capel Dewi, near Aberystwyth - on his behalf.

"Adam Henson fully deserves to receive this inaugural award because he has clearly met the criteria of raising the public profile of Welsh farming through his programmes which are watched by a huge audience throughout the UK," said Mr Vaughan.

The Bob Davies Award recognises the major contribution made to agricultural journalism in Wales including 44 years as the Farmers Weekly's accomplished Wales correspondent. His widow Jennifer and daughter Emma attended the presentation ceremony.


The chairman of Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), Montgomeryshire beef and sheep farmer Rees Roberts, was this evening (Wednesday July 21 at 6.30pm) presented with the Farmers' Union of Wales gold medal for services to Welsh agriculture.

Mr Roberts, who has held a number of senior positions in the British agricultural industry over many years, received the medal from FUW president Gareth Vaughan during the Royal Welsh Show.

He was the Commissioner for Wales on the Meat and Livestock Commission from 1998 until taking over as the inaugural chairman of HCC when it was formed in April 2003. Prior to this he was also chairman of Welsh Lamb and Beef Producers Ltd.

Over the years he has served on a number of public bodies, including the Welsh Assembly Government's Strategic Food and Drink Advisory Group and the Agri?Food Partnership Lamb and Beef Strategy Group.

He is a member of the Lord Chancellor's advisory committee for JPs and of Dolen Ffermio, a charity that promotes links between Wales and Uganda.

In 2004 he became a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society and in 2006 he was voted the Food Personality of the Year by Food and Industry magazine.

A Nuffield scholar, he has also served as a member of the Hill Farming Advisory Sub?Committee for Wales, a governor of Llysfasi College and, earlier in his career, as chairman of the FUW's hill farming committee.

Mr Roberts is aged 59 and was awarded the OBE in 2002 for services to agriculture. Married to Sally, the couple have two daughters - Bethan and Ceri - and live at Efailwag Farm, Llanrhaeadr?ym?Mochnant, Oswestry.


New planning guidance revealed today by the Assembly's Environment Minister will greatly help sustain rural communities in Wales, according to the Farmers' Union of Wales.

Welcoming Jane Davidson's announcement at the Royal Welsh Show, FUW's land use committee chairman Richard Vaughan said it was in line with measures the union had been demanding for many years.

"We believe that the Minister's new Technical Advice Note 6 (TAN 6) - Planning for Sustainable Rural Communities - will help farmers diversify and encourage the retention of young people in the countryside.

"Her decision to extend the scope of the existing agriculture and forestry dwelling category will greatly assist farmers involved with diversification projects.

"One of her other major change - accepting second dwellings on established farms where there is a need for a part-time worker - is really good news for farms which also have a diversified business.

"And the principle of allowing second dwellings on farms when it facilitates the handover of the management of the farm business to younger farmers is a particularly pleasing step forward. "

During the launch the Minister underlined the need for consistency across Wales in dealing with rural planning applications.

"We hope that local planning authorities will accept the spirit of these guidelines aimed at improving the long-term viability of agriculture and the wider rural economy," added Mr Vaughan


The Farmers' Union of Wales today welcomed a National Assembly report calling for the Assembly Government to support a strong Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which protects farm incomes and food production.

FUW president Gareth Vaughan said "The report makes a large number of robust recommendations which are in line with the evidence submitted by the union.

"I welcome the fact that the committee recognises the CAP as a framework which should continue to support our rural communities while ensuring the key challenges of our age are addressed, in particular food security."

The report makes 18 recommendations and calls on the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) to lobby Europe to maintain the current CAP budget while keeping food security and the provision of public goods as its core objectives.

"The committee also agreed with the union's view that support in less favoured areas should be maintained and incorporated in Pillar 1 of the CAP.

"We have expressed significant concerns over the past year regarding WAG's apparent lack of direction regarding the CAP and have called for the CAP stakeholder group to be reconvened.

"We therefore fully endorse the committee's view that the stakeholder group should be re-established in order to inform WAG on a policy which is of critical importance to Wales's economy.

"The government should now regard these recommendations as a guiding light based as it is upon the significant evidence submitted by the FUW and other stakeholders.

"We have demonstrated the importance of the CAP to Wales's economy and Europe's future food and environmental security, and the committee has agreed that our government should be fully engaged both with grass root organisations and with Brussels in order to argue for what is best for Wales, Europe, and every EU citizen."


A paper published by the Farmers' Union of Wales today (Monday July 19) suggests badger culling in north Pembrokeshire could reduce bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) incidences by around a third - and this could even be a significant underestimate.

The paper, prepared by the union's agricultural policy director Dr Nicholas Fenwick, uses computer modelling and the results of previous scientific studies to predict the outcome of badger culling in a number of areas.

It suggests that a badger cull in north Pembrokeshire could reduce bTB herd incidences by 30% during a five-year cull, and by 32% in a three-and-a-half-year period following culling.

FUW's bTB spokesman, Carmarthen dairy farmer Brian Walters, said: "There is only one approach which has been shown scientifically to reduce bTB incidences in hotspot areas where bTB is endemic in badgers, and that is culling.

"This paper builds upon the modelling work done by the Independent Science Group in 2007 and looks at what would happen in a range of different situations if the results of the English badger culling trials were replicated in other areas."

The work also highlights the fact that legislation to minimise the types of problems experienced during the English trials, such as obstruction and interference with trapping, is likely to add significantly to the positive effects seen in England.

"We know that the chances of a confirmed bTB case in cattle herds fell by between 62% and 95% in the Irish badger culling trials and we would expect a well planned cull in north Pembrokeshire, coupled with legislation to discourage interference and obstruction, to achieve results closer to those figures rather the English ones," said Mr Walters.

The paper also predicts falls in numbers of individual bTB cattle reactors in north Pembrokeshire of 15% during the culling period and 28% in a three-year period after culling, based upon the English culling trial results.

"This work shows that, even if the problems experienced during the English culls do occur, a cull could prevent around 90 herd outbreaks over an eight-and-a-half-year period, which would represent a massive reduction," added Mr Walters.

"We have already provided the Welsh Assembly Government with this evidence which we believe shows that badger culling can substantially reduce bTB in north Pembrokeshire.

"Following the Court of Appeal's recent judgement against the TB Order, we have urged the Welsh Assembly Government to do all it can to put new legislation in place to allow a cull to go ahead.

"The evidence on badger culling from the Irish and English trials is conclusive: it works, and can lead to significant reductions in bTB. The farming community in north Pembrokeshire deserves to see matters progressing towards a cull as soon as possible.

"Without decisive, science-based action we will not see the outcome we all want, which is cattle and badgers free of disease. This paper adds to the already large base of scientific evidence which shows that the Welsh Assembly Government is right to pursue a badger cull to help eradicate bTB."



[caption id="attachment_4830" align="aligncenter" width="300"]From left, Roger Williams, Zhou Xiaoming, Lord Livsey, Gareth Vaughan and Meat Promotion Wales - Hybu Cig Cymru chairman Rees Roberts From left, Roger Williams, Zhou Xiaoming, Lord Livsey, Gareth Vaughan and Meat Promotion Wales - Hybu Cig Cymru chairman Rees Roberts[/caption]

Attempts to put Welsh red meat on the menu in China could take a leap forward at this year's Royal Welsh Show, according to the Farmers' Union of Wales.

Last January a guest speaker at the union's annual lunch in the House of Lords - held to celebrate the Home Grown Cereals Authority's Farmhouse Breakfast Week - was Zhou Xiaoming, Minister Counsellor in charge of trade and investment issues, including agriculture, between China and the UK.

And during the function he expressed his interest in attending the Royal Welsh Show. He will now tour the Llanelwedd showground on the opening day (July 19) and spend 45 minutes at the FUW Pavilion (from 2.15pm to 3 o'clock) meeting the president Gareth Vaughan and other members of the union's presidential team.

Mr Vaughan said today that at the lunch Mr Xiaoming revealed his country could offer market opportunities for Welsh beef and sheep producers. "He told us Wales had a lot to offer the people of China and that as their incomes increase, the Chinese consumer was looking more and more for imported meat products.

"In fact, in the first 11 months of 2009, China imported $7m-worth of pig products and $50m-worth of beef and I remember Mr Xiaoming saying that the door to China is now open to meat products from different countries and they are ready to help connect us with Chinese markets, not least with Welsh Black beef and mountain lamb."

The Minister Counsellor's invitation to the FUW's Lords function, hosted by former Liberal Democrat MP for Brecon and Radnor Lord Livsey of Talgarth, was initiated by Lord Livsey's successor as MP, Roger Williams, who led a delegation to the Chinese Embassy in London two years ago to promote Welsh Lamb.

Mr Williams began the bid to boost exports to China when he arranged for farmers from his constituency to supply 40kg of Welsh Lamb for a Chinese New Year reception at the Chinese Embassy in January 2008.

The idea was first discussed when Mr Williams' neighbour Glyn Jones, a farmer and director of Farmers Fresh which manages an abattoir and is directly involved in the export market, came up with the idea to promote Welsh Lamb.

Mr Vaughan added: "Welsh Lamb is the best lamb in the world and the Chinese market presents a massive opportunity for the Welsh agricultural sector. In the past decade alone, meat consumption in China has been rising at an average of 2kg per capita per year.

"If Chinese consumers choose to spend this money on Welsh Lamb then, apart from the high quality product they will receive, domestic meat producers will benefit."

Average meat consumption in China is now 54kg/person, compared to 70-130kg/person in Western countries. Forty years ago, it was just 4kg/person in China.


[caption id="attachment_4827" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Older People's Commissioner for Wales Ruth Marks Older People's Commissioner for Wales Ruth Marks[/caption]

The concerns of older people living in rural areas of Wales will come under the spotlight next week at the Farmers' Union of Wales pavilion alongside the main ring at the Royal Welsh Show in Builth Wells (July 19-22).

Older People's Commissioner for Wales Ruth Marks will spend 90 minutes on the stand on Wednesday July 21 (from 9.30am to 11am) meeting older people from around the country and hearing about the issues affecting them.

"I want to work in partnership with the FUW to learn more about the issues affecting older people living in rural areas around Wales," she said.

"People raise many concerns with us including the lack of transport - especially in relation to travelling to hospitals or visiting relatives in care homes - problems accessing services, problems with broadband internet access and lack of choice of domiciliary care services.

"I am also aware that older people have concerns about rural isolation, which is a major issue affecting individuals across the country.

"The Big Lottery Fund has recently launched the AdvantAGE programme, making £20m available for projects across Wales working with people over 50, specialising in advocacy and befriending services.

"It is important that older people live full and active lives and have access to relevant information and services. As Commissioner, I support the aims of the programme and feel it is a step forward in improving the quality of life for older people in Wales."

Her Commission has developed a partnership with The Pension Service to highlight the importance of older people claiming the financial benefits they are entitled to.

Pension Service representative Ken Davies will be available at the FUW pavilion throughout Tuesday and Wednesday (July 20 and 21) and Llandysul community pharmacist Richard Evans will be at the pavilion on Monday offering lifestyle health checks.

"Claiming the benefits you are entitled to can mean being able to afford a healthier lifestyle through better nutrition as well as having more money to get out and about and access facilities and activities," said Mrs Marks.

"I am grateful to everyone who has contacted me to tell me about their concerns and examples of good practice. It is through listening to and learning from older people that we have been able to root all our work in what matters most to them."


[caption id="attachment_4824" align="aligncenter" width="300"]The FUW has donated the official scarlet jackets that all seven members of the Welsh team will be wearing during the ceremony. The FUW has donated the official scarlet jackets that all seven members of the Welsh team will be wearing during the ceremony.[/caption]

The Farmers' Union of Wales will play a colourful part in the spectacular opening ceremony laid on by the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society (RWAS) for the world shearing championships on the first day of next week's Royal Welsh Show on Monday (July 19).

The FUW has donated the official scarlet jackets that all seven members of the Welsh team will be wearing during the ceremony. They were presented with the jackets by FUW president Gareth Vaughan during the union's national annual dinner at the Metropole Hotel, Llandrindod Wells, last October.

"It is only the second time the championships have been held in Wales - the previous occasion was in 1994 - so we are proud to be associated with the Welsh team this time and we wish them every success in the competition," said Mr Vaughan.

During the opening ceremony the Welsh team and 26 other teams representing competing countries will be led on stage at the showground's Meirion Shearing Centre by young attendants dressed in traditional Welsh colours.

The championships will then be declared open to a fanfare of trumpets by RWAS chairman Alun Evans and, following the Welsh national anthem, clog dancers from Royal Welsh Show 2010 feature county Ceredigion will perform.


[caption id="attachment_4821" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Wales Air Ambulance corporate manager Anna Evans with staff of Airbus UK in Broughton, Flintshire, where the mock helicopter was recently revamped. Wales Air Ambulance corporate manager Anna Evans with staff of Airbus UK in Broughton, Flintshire, where the mock helicopter was recently revamped.[/caption]

A bright red Wales Air Ambulance mock helicopter will be the centre of attraction for young and older showgoers at the FUW Pavilion during this year's Royal Welsh Show (July 19-22).

The Wales Air Ambulance charity, which provides emergency air cover for the whole of Wales for those facing life-threatening illness or injuries, is FUW president Gareth Vaughan's 2010 chosen charity appeal.

"I am pleased that the FUW and the Wales Air Ambulance have come together to try and raise the profile of my appeal during the Royal Welsh Show," said Mr Vaughan.

"The cost of running the charity's three airbases at Swansea, Welshpool and Caernarfon is over £5m per year and the service has carried out over 11,000 missions to date. I invite FUW members and their families to pop in to the Pavilion during the show and enjoy free light refreshments with us and perhaps make a donation to the appeal."

The helicopters can travel at 140mph - over two miles per minute - reaching most parts of Wales within 15 minutes and each aircraft has the capacity to carry one pilot, two paramedics and two patients.

Since the charity's launch on St David's Day in 2001 it has responded to around 1,500 emergencies a year, saving countless lives in the process.

Owing to the diversity of the landscape in Wales, the service is vital for reaching remote countryside and busy towns and cities when time really matters. From mountain tops to back gardens, the helicopters can be anywhere in Wales within just 20 minutes of an emergency call.

In heavily congested urban areas, the ability to land within close proximity of the patient has proved critical in response to road traffic accidents. Equally, a helicopter can make a vital difference in rural locations, saving valuable time in areas where a land ambulance simply cannot reach.

Wales Air Ambulance fundraising manager for South Wales Rhodri Davies said it is widely believed that a patient's chance of survival and early recovery is significantly increased if they receive the right care within the first hour, otherwise known as the "Golden Hour".

"The fast response times of the Air Ambulance crews and their ability to reach such difficult locations increases the chances of a patient receiving definitive care within this crucial hour," said Mr Davies.

Wales Air Ambulance is funded entirely by the people of Wales - relying on public support to help keep their three helicopters flying 365 days a year. The service does not receive any government or National Lottery Funding.

The money is raised through charitable donations, fundraising events, and membership of the Wales Air Ambulance "Lifesaving Lottery".

For more information on Wales Air Ambulance and how you can help please visit www.walesairambulance.com or contact your nearest fundraising office on 0844 85 84 999.



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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/