[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.


The Farmers' Union of Wales today described the High Court's decision to uphold an appeal by the Badger Trust against the Welsh Assembly Government's plans for a badger cull in West Wales as a "bitterly disappointing outcome".

"The focus must now be on looking at the judgement and drafting a further order so that moves to address the problem in badgers can go ahead," said the union's bTB spokesman Brian Walters.

"At the same time, we must ensure that farmers in north Pembrokeshire are not subject to extra costs and restrictions which are futile so long as the major wildlife source of the disease continues to infect their cattle.

"Farmers throughout Wales, from Anglesey down to Monmouthshire, have been doing their bit to combat bTB for decades, and are now subject to more movement restrictions and bTB testing than ever before, all at huge expense.

"In north Pembrokeshire the restrictions and financial burdens are even more onerous, yet we know that around one in every seven badgers in the area is infected with bTB, compared with around one in every 140 cows.

"Farmers are doing their bit to control this disease, yet the court has decided that the most significant obstacle to controlling this disease, namely a highly infected badger population, cannot be addressed until further consideration of the facts is undertaken by the Assembly's Rural Affairs Minister."


[caption id="attachment_4816" align="aligncenter" width="200"]FUW president Gareth Vaughan - left - congratulates John Price on being selected as a life member in March 2007. FUW president Gareth Vaughan - left - congratulates John Price on being selected as a life member in March 2007.[/caption]

The death has occurred of Farmers' Union of Wales life member John Price, a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies (FRAgS) and former president of the union's Carmarthenshire county branch.

Mr Price, of Dafadfa Isaf, Gwynfe, near Llangadog, died, aged 72, at Glangwili Hospital, Carmarthen, on Tuesday July 6. He leaves his wife, two children and five grandchildren.

Mr Price ran a 144-acre hill farm where he kept beef cattle and sheep. He also rented 66 acres of land and had grazing rights on the Black Mountain.

After leaving school in 1953, he worked on the family farm with his late father until 1968 when he went to assist with the running of the Earl of Ducie's estate in South Gloucestershire. He returned to Dafadfa Isaf in 1981.

Club chairman of Gwynfe YFC in 1960 and secretary of the East Carmarthen Lamb Group, he started taking part in FUW activities in 1983 when he became Carmarthenshire county delegate on the union's national livestock, wool and marts committee and maintained a regular attendance until his death.

He was the committee's chairman from 1991 to 1996, Carmarthenshire county executive committee vice chairman and chairman from 1989 to 1993 and county president from 1993 to 1995.

Between 1993 and 2004 he represented Carmarthenshire on the South Wales regional committee of the British Wool Marketing Board and served as its chairman in 1994-95. From 1991 to 2002 he was a member of the National Sheep Association's Wales committee.

Since 1993 he has been a member of the Wales Land Tribunal Panel and chairman of Gwynfe Show committee twice (1997-1998 and 2003 to date). In 2003 he was made an Associate of the Royal Agricultural Societies (ARAgS) for his contribution to farming and the rural community and became a Fellow in 2008.

He was made an FUW life member in 2007. "John's contribution to the FUW, agriculture and his local community has been exceptional and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him," said the union's Carmarthenshire county executive officer Meinir Bartlett.

The funeral will take place on Monday July 12 when a public service at Capel Maen, Gwynfe, at 1.15pm will be followed by a cremation service at Llanelli Crematorium at 3.30pm. Family flowers only but donations in lieu for Towy Ward, Glangwili Hospital, can be made via Bryan Williams, Coach and Horses, Manordeilo, tel: 01550 777441.


THE Welsh Assembly Government's announcement to commit millions of pounds rolling out basic broadband to most of Wales' "not-spots" was described by Farmers' Union of Wales president Gareth Vaughan today as excellent news - even though it comes eight years after the union began campaigning for better provision in rural areas.

Mr Vaughan, who does not have broadband where he lives at Dolfor, near Newtown, said: "We've been told our phone line is too antiquated yet, increasingly, farmers are expected to supply information on cattle movements and so on via the internet but officials sometimes don't understand when you say you haven't got a connection.

"There are other inconveniences too - such as my grandchildren having to go to the library to do their homework via the internet."

And a few months ago the union slammed HM Revenue & Customs' (HMRC) "absurd" decision to force farmers in areas with no or poor broadband provision to submit their VAT returns on-line from 1 April this year.

Clwyd West MP David Jones, now parliamentary under-secretary for Wales, stepped in and protested to HMRC's director general Dave Hartnett stressing there are many areas of North Wales, including Gwytherin and Cwmpenanner in his constituency, which have no satisfactory broadband access.

The union also received support from website ISPreview.co.uk - an independent source of Internet Service Provider (ISP) information, listings and reviews since 1999 - which stated HMRC's move "appears absurd" at a time when the Government's own Universal Service Commitment (USC), which aims to deliver a minimum broadband ISP speed of at least 2Mbps to virtually every household in the UK by 2012, had not even begun to be implemented.

"It's obvious that the HMRC don't fully appreciate the problems facing farmers and other businesses in rural communities like Powys," said Mr Vaughan. "But we are hoping for better things from the Assembly's scheme which is due to start later this summer."

Initial funding of around £2m has been allocated by the Welsh Assembly Government for its new scheme and discussions are also under way to access European assistance from the Rural Development Plan (RDP). Support will be available for up to a maximum of £1,000 for individual premises.

Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones said the scheme continues the Assembly Government's commitment to provide improved services for rural areas and, particularly access to the internet which is critical for those living and working across Wales.

There are now about 1,800 people registered on the Assembly Government's broadband "not spot" database. "It is vitally important that the Assembly's efforts to acquire European assistance from the RDP reach a rapid and successful conclusion," Mr Vaughan added.


More than £10,000 was raised at a promise auction and barbecue organised by the Farmers' Union of Wales' Montgomeryshire branch last Saturday evening (July 3) to show support for the family of a staff member whose daughter is suffering from cancer.

Sixty-eight lots went under the hammer during the event at Cefn Coch Inn, Cefn Coch, near Welshpool, and the top price of £320 was paid for the use of a flat in Cardiff for any weekend - including rugby international weekends - donated by Montgomeryshire AM Mick Bates.

A tour of the House of Commons with lunch or dinner, donated by Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies, made £220; a limited edition Corgi replica of an M E Edwards & Son livestock transporter signed by Richard Edwards, proprietor of the Llanfair Caereinion transport company, sold for £200; while a British Lions rugby shirt signed by Welsh legend Phil Bennett and given by the FUW went for £140.

The total raised from the auction - efficiently conducted by Glandon Lewis, of Welshpool auctioneers Norman R Lloyd - was a brilliant £6,520 which, together with the proceeds of a barbecue, raffle and various donations, was boosted to a massive £10,161 which will be donated to local breast cancer support facilities.

"I'm sure the family of FUW Montgomery area officer Tony Williams whose youngest daughter, 31-year-old Sally, is currently receiving treatment for breast cancer will want me to offer their warm and genuine thanks to each one of the 300-plus people who attended," said FUW president Gareth Vaughan today.

"It was truly heartwarming to witness the generosity of the people of Montgomeryshire and beyond who helped make it such a hugely successful event," added Mr Vaughan.


An authentic British Lions rugby shirt signed by Welsh legend Phil Bennett will be among an array of items offered at a promise auction organised by the Farmers' Union of Wales' Montgomeryshire branch on Saturday evening (July 3) to show support for the family of a staff member whose daughter is suffering from cancer.

FUW Montgomery area officer Tony Williams' youngest daughter, 31-year-old Sally, is currently receiving treatment for breast cancer and the branch is holding the auction and barbecue at Cefn Coch Inn, Cefn Coch, near Welshpool, at 7.30pm.

Bennett made eight Test appearances for the British Lions during two Southern Hemisphere tours - to South Africa in 1974 and New Zealand in 1977 when he captained the side. His 50-yard try against Pretoria in South Africa was a career highlight.

The successful bidder will receive the shirt together with a Certificate of Authenticity from the British Sports Museum and a photograph of Bennett signing the shirt.

Other desirable auction items are a limited edition Corgi replica of an M E Edwards & Son livestock transporter signed by Richard Edwards, proprietor of the Llanfair Caereinion transport company and a voucher for one person to attend a full falconry day at Mid Wales Falconry.

For details of the other items in the auction contact FUW Montgomeryshire county executive officer Susan Jones on 01686 626889 (office hours) or 01686 688285.


Primary school pupils in Pembrokeshire are being invited by the county's Farmers' Union of Wales branch to enter a competition in a bid to improve their knowledge of life down on the farm.

"There is widespread concern about the way children, young people, and their families, have become disassociated from where their food comes from and do not know what is required for a healthy diet and lifestyle," said county chairman David Miles, of Barnsley Farm, Crowhill, Haverfordwest.

"They are also unaware of the many opportunities in the countryside for leisure and social activities, and for employment. We hope our competition will go some way towards addressing these concerns."

The competition - sponsored by Carmarthen & Pumsaint Farmers' Ltd, J E Lawrence & Son Ltd and the FUW 200+ Club - has three age categories.

Category 1 asks children up to 7 years of age to hand draw a picture of a farm scene. Paints, pencils, crayons or felt tips can be used and the size must not exceed a standard sized sheet of A4 paper.

Category 2 wants 7 to 11 year-olds to make a model of a farm animal. Any materials can be used but the size must not exceed 30cm by 30cm by 30cm.

Category 3 urges all pupils up to 11 years of age to write a poem in English or Welsh entitled "The Farm". It must not exceed 20 lines in length.

The winner of each category will receive a £10 gift voucher for themselves, a cheque for £30 together with £40 worth of Carmarthen & Pumsaint Farmers' Ltd vouchers for their school garden, and free admittance to the Pembrokeshire County Show to receive their prizes on a day to be confirmed.

The winning entries and a selection of other entries will be placed on display at the FUW marquee at the Show.

The closing date for entries is Friday July 23. The child's name, class number and school name must be included on all entries and out of term contact details must also be provided for the school to enable the winner to be notified.

All entries should be posted or delivered to the FUW County Office, 3 North Street, Haverfordwest, SA61 2JE, marked "Schools Competition".

For further enquiries contact the county office on 01437 762913.


The Farmers' Union of Wales today welcomed confirmation from the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) that the Farming Connect   subsidised advisory service can offer an 80% subsidy on the cost of mentoring and advice towards applying to enter the Glastir land management scheme.

"Whilst consultants cannot be used to fill in the actual forms, they can be used for mentoring, advice and guidance," said the FUW's land use and parliamentary committee chairman Richard Vaughan.

"We welcome this step as the union has been pushing for this service to be more pro-active in helping farmers access Glastir."

WAG revealed Farming Connect cannot fund consultants to complete applications on behalf of farmers for Glastir -but they can help with  the points calculation, scorecard  and advise or mentor on impact and management options that a business could consider.

Examples of mentoring and advice farmers can receive through the Whole Farm Plan (WFP) and Farm Advisory Service (FAS) to help their business make an informed decision to apply for Glastir include: assessment of habitats, species, biodiversity, historical features on the farm and appropriate management of these habitats and features.

Other examples could include advice on options for the farm and changes to the farming systems - e.g. identifying risks to the environment, protection and enhancement of habitats and features, and any changes to the farm system that may be required.

Throughout July, August and September Farming Connect will run a series of Glastir training events (see table below).

Farming Connect Events

Farming and forestry families are invited to attend the following events.  You are advised to contact the event organiser beforehand to confirm the arrangements.


Farming Connect Events Diary Farmers are advised to check all following arrangements directly with organisers
Date Time Event Location Contact Details
05 July 1:00pm Glastir Training

(Organic Beef & Sheep)

Nant yr Efail, Betws yn Rhos, Abergele, Conwy

LL22 8AL

Heather McCalman


- 01970 823026

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09 July 1:00pm Glastir Training

(Sheep, Firewood)

Gadr Farm, Llangovan


NP25 4BU

Heather McCalman

IBERS - 01970 823026

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12 July 1:00pm Glastir Training

(Beef, Sheep & Cereal)

Mynachdy Farm


CF37 3PE

Heather McCalman

IBERS - 01970 823026

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13 July 1:00pm Glastir Training

Tir Mynydd only

(Beef & Sheep)

Dolmaen, Foel

Llanfair Caerenion


SY21 0PA

Heather McCalman

IBERS - 01970 823026

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

14 July 1:00pm Glastir Training


Carreg y Llech

Treuddyn, Mold


Heather McCalman

IBERS - 01970 823026

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

14 July 1:00pm Glastir Training

(Organic Sheep,Beef, Arable)

Penrhiw, Capel Dewi


SA44 4PG

Heather McCalman

IBERS - 01970 823026

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

21 July By appointment only Planning Surgery in Builth Wells


Royal Welsh Show

Builth Wells

Rhian Evans Menter a Busnes – 01970 636291

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26 July 1:00pm Glastir Training

Tir Mynydd only

(Sheep, Arable)

Carreg Cennen Castle

Trapp, Llandeilo

SA19 6UA

Heather McCalman

IBERS - 01970 823026

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26 July 1:00pm Glastir Training

Tir Mynydd only

(Beef & Sheep)

Treban Meurig

Bryngwran, Holyhead

LL65 3YN

Heather McCalman

IBERS - 01970 823026

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28 July 1:00pm Glastir Training

Tir Mynydd only


T'yn Llechwedd

Gwyddelwern, Corwen

LL 21 9DN

Heather McCalman

IBERS - 01970 823026

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29 July 1:00pm Glastir Training

Tir Gofal only

(Sheep & Beef)

Brychyni, Llangybi


LL53 6DX

Heather McCalman

IBERS - 01970 823026

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Farming Connect Events Diary Farmers are advised to check all following arrangements directly with organisers
Date Time Event Location Contact Details
03 August TBC Buding Workshop Primrose Farm, Felindre Brecon Centre for Alternative Land Use - 01248 680450 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
04 August 1:00pm Glastir Training

Tir Gofal only

(Beef & Sheep)

Cornwal Ucha, Gwetherin


LL22 8YG

Heather McCalman

IBERS - 01970 823026

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

06 August 1:00pm Glastir Training

(Beef, Sheep & Cereals)

Penllyne Estate Farm


CF71 7FF

Heather McCalman

IBERS - 01970 823026

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

06 August By appointment only Planning Surgery in Dolgellau


Royal Ship Hotel, Dolgellau Lisa Southgate Menter a Busnes - 01970 636297 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
10 August 1:00pm Glastir Training


Ton Farm, Raglan

NP15 6JA

Heather McCalman

IBERS - 01970 823026

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11 August 1:00pm Glastir Training

(Beef & Sheep)

Goitre, Kerry, Newtown


SY16 4NA

Heather McCalman

IBERS - 01970 823026

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12 August 1:00pm Glastir Training

(Beef & Sheep)

Bryncelynog, Cwm Prysor

Trawsfynydd, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd

LL41 4TR

Heather McCalman

IBERS - 01970 823026

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

12 August 1:30pm Demonstration Farm Event – Potatoes with ADAS Cwm March


SA48 8RT

Centre for Alternative Land Use - 01248 680450 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
13 August 1:00pm Glastir Training

(Beef & Sheep)



SA19 7BS

Heather McCalman

IBERS - 01970 823026

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17 August 1:00pm Glastir Training

(Arable & Hay)

Penywrlodd, Clyro


Heather McCalman

IBERS - 01970 823026

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18 August 1:00pm Glastir Training

(Sheep & ponies)

Hafdre, Llanwrtyd Wells


Heather McCalman

IBERS - 01970 823026

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18 August 11:00am Development Farm Event –

Herb Production

Henfaes Research Centre


LL33 0LB

Centre for Alternative Land Use - 01248 680450 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
23 August 1:00pm Glastir Training

Tir Mynydd only


Garreg Lwyd,

Llanddeusant, Llangadog

SA19 9YS

Heather McCalman

IBERS - 01970 823026

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

26 August 1:00pm Glastir Training

(Beef & Sheep)

Bodwi, Mynytho


LL53 7SG

Heather McCalman

IBERS - 01970 823026

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

27 August 1:00pm Glastir Training

(Arable &Sheep)

Great Nash Farm

Llangwm, Pembrokeshire

SA62 4NH

Heather McCalman

IBERS - 01970 823026

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Farming Connect Events Diary Farmers are advised to check all following arrangements directly with organisers
Date Time Event Location Contact Details
01 September 1:00pm Glastir Training

Tir Mynydd only

(Beef & Sheep)



SY18 6LU

Heather McCalman IBERS - 01970 823026

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

02 September 1:00pm Glastir Training

(Beef & Sheep)

Llwynbrain, Adfa, Newtown

SY16 3DA

Heather McCalman IBERS - 01970 823026

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

06 September 1:00pm Glastir Training

(Beef & Sheep)

Cefn Eclo (Cefn naw Clawdd), Cwm Hafod Oer



Heather McCalman IBERS - 01970 823026

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07 September 1:00pm Glastir Training

(Beef & Sheep)

Glyncoch Farm, Craig Cefn Parc, Swansea


Heather McCalman IBERS - 01970 823026

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08 September 1:00pm Glastir Training

Tir Gofal only

(Beef & Sheep)

Upper Delfach


SY18 9RX

Heather McCalman IBERS - 01970 823026

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

10 September 1:00pm Glastir Training

(Organic Dairy & Arable)

Little Pencoed, Lawrenny

Kilgetty, Pembrokeshire

SA68 0PL

Heather McCalman IBERS - 01970 823026

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13 September 1:00pm Glastir Training

(Beef, Sheep & Cereals)

Pwllyrhwyaid, Talybont on Usk, Brecon, Powys


Heather McCalman IBERS - 01970 823026

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16 September 1:00pm Glastir Training

Tir Mynydd only

(Beef & Sheep)

Ysguboriau, Tywyn

LL36 9RY

Heather McCalman IBERS - 01970 823026

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22 September 1:00pm Glastir Training

Tir Mynydd only

(Beef & Sheep)

Rowley Farm,Warden Road, Presteigne



Heather McCalman IBERS - 01970 823026

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23 September 1:00pm Glastir Training

(Beef, Sheep & Fruit)

Penlanlas, Rhydyfelin


SY23 4QE

Heather McCalman IBERS - 01970 823026

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The Farmers' Union of Wales' today gave the new Chancellor's budget a guarded welcome while stressing that it is still early days and only with time will the farming industry be able to assess the impact of cuts in the public sector.

However, the union praised the Chancellor's reintroduction of Furnished Holiday Lettings (FHL) tax allowances. "The FUW has campaigned vigorously for the reintroduction of FHL tax allowances because scrapping these benefits would have seriously affected the income of many of our members who have diversified into letting out holiday accommodation," said the union's business development director Emyr James.

"Some of them have done so after acting upon past government advice which encouraged diversification into the tourism industry. Today's announcement will come as a welcome boost for both the agricultural and tourism business in Wales."

The Union was also pleased to see no further increases in fuel duty following the last increase in March.

"Another increase today would have had a direct impact on the cost of production at a time when the country needs business to flourish," said Mr James.

The Chancellor's intention to increase VAT to 20% should not directly impact upon the agriculture sector as food is to remain exempt. "But in wider terms it could pose a cash flow problem for some farmers and affect the consumer''s disposable income available to spend on purchasing better quality cuts and products," said Mr James.

Another worry for the industry would be the further government departmental cuts announced by the Chancellor. Mr James added: "Time alone will only tell whether these departmental cuts, which include DEFRA, will have a direct impact on the agricultural industry in Wales.

"One thing is for sure, it is imperative that the economy continues to grow so that we can trade ourselves out of this recession."


A high-powered delegation from the Farmers' Union of Wales today raised a series of issues with Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones during a two-hour meeting in Aberystwyth.

High on the agenda was the controversial Glastir land management scheme which was also discussed at length during the union's annual general meeting last Monday when the Minister addressed anxious delegates.

"Glastir dominated the debate at the AGM so we were duty bound to raise several issues about the scheme with the Minister again today," said FUW president Gareth Vaughan.

"As a union we still maintain that a 12-month deferment of the scheme is warranted but we are pleased that the Minister agreed to look at certain specific aspects that were raised with her today."

The meeting also touched upon a range of other issues including TB, CAP reform and the disproportionate penalties imposed on farmers for relatively minor errors on their IACS/SAF forms.


The Farmers' Union of Wales today described a European Parliament decision to demand mandatory country of origin labelling of food as a major step forward in the union's lengthy campaign to protect the high quality of Welsh produce.

"Farmers in Wales have good reason to want all producers to ensure labelling is accurate and unambiguous," said FUW president Gareth Vaughan.

"In the past few years imported meat has been the subject of a number of mislabelling incidents which could have tarnished the quality image of food produced in Wales and the union was compelled to highlight the mislabelling of Argentinian rump steak - displaying the British flag and British farm standards logo - at a major supermarket chain in Bangor.

"The store said the mislabelling was a mix-up and was quickly corrected after it was pointed out by the union. Another FUW member in Snowdonia revealed how meals served to children at a local school included food said to be '80% Welsh Beefburgers' but the labels on the boxes stated they were manufactured by a company in Hull."

During yesterday's debate in Strasbourg around two thirds of UK MEPs agreed to back a clear demand to send a strong political message in favour of mandatory country of origin labelling to the other EU institutions.

Their amendment urges "the country or place of provenance shall be given for the following: meat; poultry; dairy products; fresh fruit and vegetables; other single ingredients and meat and poultry and fish used as an ingredient in processed foods".

Their decision will now be passed onto EU governments in the Council of Ministers for approval. "We hope the Council of Ministers will now agree with the commonsense approach of MEPs to this matter and offer no more opposition to the measure," Mr Vaughan added.


The Farmers' Union of Wales today welcomed the outcome of a National Assembly inquiry which refused canoeists' requests for free open access to Welsh rivers.

Instead, the Assembly's sustainability committee called for voluntary access agreements by landowners, a licensing system for those using unpowered craft on inland waters and a fee for those making a profit out of water-related recreation.

FUW land use and parliamentary chairman Richard Vaughan, who gave evidence to the committee's inquiry, said the union was concerned at the impact any increased, unmanaged access to inland waterways would have on adjacent farmland as there had been several trespass incidences across farmland by users wishing to reach or leave an inland waterway.

"We believe the committee has made a sensible response to the canoeists' demands and we welcome its recommendations which support reasoned discussion on access issues," he said.

"The union is totally opposed to a statutory approach to access to inland waters as it believes there are major farm management issues associated with such a proposal, given the amount of inland water within Wales.

"The FUW strongly believes that if the Assembly is seeking to improve access to any part of the countryside and want to encourage landowners to participate in voluntary arrangements, it must seriously consider ways in which to reduce the liability burden on farmers.

"Feedback from our members suggests that working in partnership and increasing dialogue will prove far more constructive than the introduction of blunt policy instruments which will foster resentment and conflict between all parties.

"It is also important to ensure that all relevant parties are involved in discussions to ensure that any agreement reflects the commercial and environmental priorities identified for that particular waterway."

Mr Vaughan stressed that the FUW is not opposed to water-based activities. "In fact, we have members involved with diversified enterprises that encourage canoeing, kayaking etc, through voluntary agreements, provision of infrastructure and access points to and from the water.

"Many farmers are also actively involved in their local angling associations and much voluntary time, effort and resources are put in by individuals to maintain and enhance the environmental value of the areas they manage.

"Similarly, landowners may incur costs in maintaining waterways which abut their property. Therefore, it would seem only equitable that recreational users, who do not wish to be party to voluntary arrangements, should be required to pay a license fee to the Environment Agency, to help them maintain the resource they enjoy.

"This method would provide revenue to the Welsh economy and assure landowners that licensing comes with a code of practice, which would highlight the need to access or leave waterways on designated rights of way, and provide all users a stake holding in waterways which would act as justification to preserve and enjoy."


Meirionnydd farmer Richard Vaughan is a new face on the Farmers' Union of Wales' powerful central finance and organisation committee.

Mr Vaughan, aged 46, takes over as the committee's North Wales special member from S4C TV's Ffermio presenter Alun (Elidyr) Edwards who stepped down due to his broadcasting commitments but remains chairman of the union's agricultural education and training committee.

Mr Vaughan, of Pall Mall, Tywyn, was elected during the union's annual general meeting in Aberystwyth on Monday June 14.

He has already been chairman of the union's central land use and parliamentary committee since 2006.

He was FUW Merioneth's county chairman between 2007-2009 and has recently worked assiduously leading the union's representations on the Welsh Assembly Government's controversial Glastir land management scheme.

He is a member of the Meirionnydd Royal Welsh Agricultural Society's Advisory Committee and represents the county on the Membership Committee in Builth Wells. He also sits on the Council of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society.

He is a former chairman of the Meirionnydd Grassland Society and also vice chairman of Tywyn Town Council as well as other associated committees.

Pall Mall Farm is situated on the A493 north of Tywyn. It is one of two holdings, totalling 550 acres, and is farmed by Mr Vaughan and his wife Dwynwen. Most of their land is at Pant y Panel and Prysglwyd at Rhydymain, near Dolgellau.

A flock of 750 Welsh Mountain Sheep is kept, together with 150 ewe lambs replacements. Around 200 ewes are crossed with Texel and Suffolk rams, and the remainder with Welsh Mountain. Approximately 60 store cattle are kept and fattened over the summer.

Mr Vaughan is well qualified to speak on the Glastir Scheme, since his farm was one of the first to join the Tir Cymen Scheme when Meirionnydd was chosen as a pilot area in the early 1990s. It benefited greatly from the scheme and the farm is now in its sixth year in the Tir Gofal Scheme.

As part of these schemes, capital works have been carried out, including stone walls, fencing, hedging, tree planting, wild life ponds and even an otter den.

Pall Mall Farm has been successfully diversified over the last 40 years. Outbuildings have been converted, two chalets built, and a caravan site established which, by today, has around 100 units.

Mr and Mrs Vaughan have also developed a successful business purchasing and renovating houses in Aberystwyth to be let out as flats and bed-sits. Mr Vaughan sees this as an important part of the business which brings in valuable extra income without taking him away too often from his farming activities.

Meanwhile, all the other six members of the finance and organisation committee - president Gareth Vaughan; deputy president Emyr Jones; vice presidents Glyn Roberts, Eifion Huws and Brian Walters; and South Wales special member Lorraine Howells - were re-elected.


A national charity with 150 years service of support for people working within the farming industry and a Powys farmer were presented with awards recognising their contribution to Welsh agriculture during today's Farmers' Union of Wales annual general meeting.

This year The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) - who received the union's annual "External Award" - commemorates 150 years of unbroken support for the farming community and Bryan Jones - who plays an active role in the FUW at county and national level - was presented with the union's "Internal Award".

Since it was founded RABI has helped many thousands of Welsh farmers, farm workers and their families in times of need and last year, in Wales alone, it spent £282,103 on beneficiaries - almost 10 times more than the total fund-raising income of £29,368 from Welsh counties.

Nationally, in 2008 RABI paid grants totalling £1.6m to 1,503 retired and disabled beneficiaries including 184 working families who received a total of £287,758 either to relieve severe hardship or through the Gateway project.

RABI's formation can be traced back to a letter written to The Times in 1859 by Essex farmer John Mechi who appealed to all farmers to link themselves together as volunteer canvassers. He wrote: "Not profit but charity is the mainspring of your efforts and desire to help those who are helpless, comfort those who are comfortless and support the aged, shelter the homeless and befriend and instruct the innocent and unprotected orphans..."

Today RABI continues as custodian of that vision. Every year it provides around 1,000 Christmas hampers to beneficiaries and continues to support elderly couples, widows, widowers and people of any age who are disabled, along with families struggling to make ends meet.

Mr Jones has farmed at Coed y Parc, Caersws, since 1973 when he took over the tenanted dairy holding. He also farmed in partnership with his parents at Cefn Farm, Hyssington, and both farms are now run in partnership with his wife Susan and their son Andrew.

They run a 70-cow pedigree Friesian Holstein herd plus followers and a flock of 300 Texel and North Cheviot X ewes.

Mr Jones first became a delegate on the FUW's milk and dairy produce committee in 1988, serving as chairman, from 1990 to 1994, at a time of major change with the break up of the then Milk Marketing Board.

As a tenant farmer, he was FUW Montgomeryshire branch's delegate on the union's tenants committee. He was elected the committee's chairman in 1994 and led the union's opposition to the introduction of farm business tenancies.

Mr Jones was elected a vice president of the FUW in 1995 and served on the central finance and organisation committee until 1998. He has given evidence, on behalf of the FUW, to the House of Commons' rural affairs committee in relation to problems in the dairy sector and the BSE enquiry.

In 2003 he gave evidence at the European Parliament in Brussels on a debate relating to the dairy sector.

Mr Jones has represented and continues to represent the FUW on a number of government bodies, such as the Milk Quotas Advisory Group, Industry/Government Working Group on Animal Identification and Registration leading to the establishment of the British Cattle Movement Service, the Milk Quotas Experts Group, and the Bovine Industry Working Group.

He was awarded the FUW/HSBC award for outstanding service to the Welsh dairy industry in 2006.

Mr Jones is a past director of Farmore Farmers and AF Farmore and represents Montgomeryshire on the Genus Advisory Committee. He is a member of Powys Local Access Forum and past vice chairman of Montgomeryshire Local Access Forum.

Mr Jones recently took part in the WAG/HCC sheep EID trials.


Good morning Minister, ladies, and gentlemen, and honoured guests. A very warm welcome to you all, and thank you for having taken the time to attend our Annual general Meeting at this busy time in the farming calendar.

It gives me great satisfaction to be able to stand here and, for the second year running, report on a more positive year for Welsh agriculture, when set against the dismal ? sometimes negative ? incomes received by the industry over a period which lasted more than a decade.

As farmers, we are often accused of moaning, so it is a pleasant experience to be able to welcome the direction in which incomes have moved over the past couple of years, particularly when we look at the misfortune of those who have lost so much due to the current recession.

But that upward movement has been from a very low base, and while the industry has continued to see long?overdue improvements in livestock prices, dairy farmers have seen a fall in incomes and an overdue delay in terms of global commodity price increases being passed back down the chain to primary producers.

And despite the overall improvements in market returns, livestock prices still struggle to cover input costs, while farm income figures show that most farm types would be unsustainable were it not for Single Payments.

These figures point to the central importance of the Common Agricultural Policy ? and particularly direct payments ? to our rural economy.

As far as the Welsh payment system is concerned, the anticipated movement from our historical model towards flat rate single payments will mean significant upheaval for many farm businesses, and this is highlighted by the detailed analysis published by the FUW in July, which represents the most comprehensive report on the issue published to date.

We therefore have a duty not only to look at ways to minimise that disruption, but also to inform the debate on possible future models, and in this context I believe the Assembly Government's decision to disband the Common Agricultural Policy Stakeholders Group, which was set up to look at this important issue, was a significant backward step for Wales. Moreover, it is one that stands in stark contrast to the pro?active approach taken in Scotland by the establishment of the Brian Pack inquiry into the future of agricultural support.

At a European level, it is the issue of the CAP budget, and the reform of the overarching CAP framework post 2013, which are currently dominating debates, and I was recently pleased to hear reports of our new Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs referring to a future CAP which helps to unleash the potential of job creation and innovation within the farm sector: aspirations which we would all no doubt support.

However, I am deeply concerned by other comments made by Mrs Spelman during an informal farm council meeting, which appear to criticise the CAP budget, advocate a movement away from direct payments, and imply that consumers should have access to cheaper, presumably imported, food.

Perhaps too much should not be read into these comments, given the relative infancy of the new coalition Government. However, I am concerned that they were very much in the same vein as the previous Government's policy, which was to increase cheap food imports while all but abandoning agricultural support and the CAP framework.

The folly of such a policy is highlighted in two significant pieces of work commissioned by DEFRA and published during the past year, and while I could quote a long list of figures from that research ? many of which would make your hair stand on end ? the bottom line is that it shows the complete devastation that would befall our rural communities and wider environment should we undermine a framework which supports agriculture, not to mention a further erosion of our food security and an increase in food miles.

Conversely, I believe that the CAP should be viewed as a tailor?made toolbox with which we can address the challenges that growing populations, climate change, rising sea levels, and peak oil production represent to European food security. These challenges are imminent, and will significantly affect future generations, so do we really want to dismantle our toolbox and empty its contents into the bin at this critical time? Of course not - that would be madness!

And to those who talk about rewarding farmers for the provision of public goods, I agree entirely, but I would emphasise this: There is nothing that benefits the public more than the provision of food, produced to the highest standards. To abandon this as a core policy would mean exporting and amplifying environmental problems in a way which would cause untold damage for future generations.

Returning to issues closer to home, the Union's objection to the abandonment of Less Favoured Area payments in favour of the Glastir scheme is well known, and members will no doubt raise their concerns with the Minister later on.However, the revelation that ninety per cent of English hill farmers who previously received LFA payments have not signed up to the English equivalent of Glastir comes as a stark warning of the need to get things right. The Union strongly encouraged its members to 'tick the boxes' on the IACS forms to express interest in the scheme, although I am very mindful of the confusion, based on lack of information and constant changes to the scheme, which is likely to impact on actual applications later this year.

The Assembly Government continues to expect farmers to make business decisions based on sketchy information, and we firmly believe that a twelve month deferment of the scheme is still warranted, so that the All?Wales, targeted, and common land elements of the scheme are finalised and launched together to facilitate business planning, and so that tenants and landlords alike have a clear understanding of the implications of signing up to the scheme.

And in terms of the ambitious timetable for the Glastir application process, I would like to take this opportunity to emphasise the indispensable role that Farm Liaison Officers already play in advising farmers, especially during the IACS period, and the importance of maintaining and indeed enhancing this service, in light of Glastir.

Failure to make sufficient trained staff available to deal with Glastir applications could also leave farmers open to financial penalties due to simple administrative errors, and while the hundreds of thousands of pounds in penalties that have been repaid to FUW members stands as testament to the hard work of our staff in dealing with appeals, the combination of Glastir and the current penalty system could lead to a significant escalation in unfair fines for farmers.

As far as access to the Glastir scheme is concerned, the decision to exclude woodland from the All Wales element, despite its being an important feature of previous schemes is baffling. For many farms, dairy in particular, this has one simple implication: they will be excluded from the Glastir scheme.

This seems a perverse approach, particularly given the role of woodland in terms of carbon sequestration, and I would therefore urge you, once again, Minister, to revisit this matter and allow the inclusion of woodland.

I believe the times I have stood here and not spoken at some point about bovine TB are few and far between. Well today we have at least two speakers ? Professors Glossop and Hewinson ? who will speak about TB, so I do not intend to dwell on the issue. However, it would be wrong for me not to express our ongoing respect for Elin Jones, Christianne Glossop, and all of those involved in the eradication programme, for their resolve in tackling this issue. We all share a common goal, which is to see healthy badgers and cattle living alongside each other. Others, it seems, have a different goal, which is to protect badgers, irrespective of their role in disease transmission.

Sadly, the scale of the bovine TB epidemic often serves to obscure other serious animal health issues, not just in cattle but also in sheep, and I hope we will go some way to redressing that imbalance with our other expert speakers, Lynfa Davies, and Hannah Pearce.

But firstly, I would like to welcome our Minister, Miss Elin Jones.


Powys farmer Gareth Vaughan was re-elected with a handsome majority for the seventh successive time as president of the Farmers' Union of Wales during the union's grand council meeting in Aberystwyth this afternoon (Monday, June 14).

"I'm delighted to be re-elected as president once again and I look forward to driving forward the aims and ambitions of the FUW for another year in what is expected to be a challenging time for the industry as the Common Agricultural Policy is reviewed," he said.

"The past year has been yet another busy time for the Union in terms of representing members' interests in discussions with organisations and politicians at all levels.

"Our dairy industry has faced a difficult period over the past twelve months, due to a fall in milk prices and the collapse of Dairy Farmers of Britain, but the favourable Euro-Sterling exchange rate has had a significant positive impact on livestock prices and Single Payments.

"However, the current financial climate is still a cause for major concern and all eyes are now on the new UK Coalition Government.

"But in Wales the idea of such co-operation is not new, as devolution has forced parties from across the political spectrum, whether in Government or opposition, to work together to tackle major issues and moves such as the Welsh bTB Eradication Programme stand as testament to the way in which cross-party co-operation can lead to a mature consensus over matters of importance."

Born in Llanidloes in 1941, Mr Vaughan attended Manledd Primary and Llanidloes High Schools. He left at the age of 15 to work on the family farm, and joined Llangurig Young Farmers Club where his interests included public speaking and drama.

He runs a traditional beef and sheep unit at Cwmyrhiewdre Farm, Dolfor, near Newtown, in partnership with his wife of over 40 years, Audrey, and 12 years ago his daughter Catherine and son-in-law Brian joined the business.

Over the years the family has carried out extensive improvements, with shelter belts, new buildings, land drainage and farm road layouts. Some 2,000 metres of new hedgerow has been planted with the aid of grants from Radnor ESA.

Other hedge improvements were undertaken with the assistance of the Countryside Council for Wales.

Mr Vaughan has been an active member of the FUW for many years. He was chairman of the Newtown branch in 1988-89 and Montgomeryshire county chairman from 1991-93.

He has represented the county on the union's grand council and land use and parliamentary committee, the British Wool Marketing Board, the Meat and Livestock Commission liaison committee and the Agricultural Dwellinghouse Committee.

He was elected as the north Wales member of the FUW's national finance and organisation committee in 1998 before being elected vice president in 2000, deputy president in June 2002 and president in June 2003.

Mr Vaughan places great importance on supporting the local community and is involved with his local agricultural show, new hall committee and other local charities.


Welsh farmers today raised their reservations about the difficulties they face in gaining entry to the Welsh Assembly Government's Glastir agri-environment scheme with the new chairman of the Countryside Council for Wales.

Morgan Parry, who was appointed in March, told Farmers' Union of Wales land use committee members he was keen to learn from farmers and wanted to build on the good relations set by his predecessor.

The committee's chairman Richard Vaughan said the meeting was an opportunity to meet Mr Parry and raise some of the concerns members have such as the Glastir scheme's accessibility issues.

"We are keen to maintain a dialogue with Mr Parry because at the end of the day we have to work together. Our objectives and goals are the same.

"We both want a healthy environment but we also want a sustainable and profitable farming industry," added Mr Vaughan.


Increases in farmgate prices which properly reflect rises in wholesale prices for dairy produce are now long overdue, FUW milk committee chairman Eifion Huws claimed today.

Figures published by DairyCo last week revealed the wholesale prices of both butter and bulk cream rose by almost 70% in the 12 months to May 2010 while skimmed milk powder and mild cheddar rose by 30% and 12% respectively during the same period.

"In just the last month, the price of butter has increased by £400 per tonne and both mild cheddar and bulk cream have risen by £150 per tonne," added Mr Huws.

According to DairyCo, UK commodity prices have benefited from a rapid rise in European price levels, despite a slight rise in the value of Sterling against the Euro over the past month and butter prices are now are now £100 higher than the record price of £3,300/tonne seen in 2007.

Bulk has also benefited from rising export and domestic prices due to limited availability and strong Continental demand.

"It is high time that the primary producer started seeing some of this money being passed back in order to engender industry confidence," said Mr Huws. "Welsh Assembly Government figures suggest a fall in dairy farm incomes of 11% over the past year, so we are really looking to the dairy processors to make up for this fall."


New full-time students are being invited to write a 1,000-word essay on one of three topics about the future of Welsh farming suggested by the Farmers' Union of Wales which launches its annual £1,000 bursary on its stand at the Urdd National Eisteddfod tomorrow (Wednesday June 2).

The topics are:

* What challenges will climate change create for farming and food production in Wales over the next 50 years?

* What should the Welsh farming industry and government do to attract more young people into agriculture?

* How would you give the Welsh farming industry a facelift to attract more support and loyalty from the general public?

Last year the adjudicators decided to award £700 to the bursary winner, 19-year-old Harper Adams University College student Iestyn Russell.

Iestyn, of Cwmann, near Lampeter, Carmarthenshire, received his award from FUW president Gareth Vaughan on the union's stand at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair last December.

Iestyn, an enthusiastic member of Cwmann YFC and last year's Wales YFC best junior stockman, also worked on the family's dairy and sheep farm at Cwmann and on a neighbouring beef and sheep farm before deciding to go to university to study for a degree in rural enterprise and land management. "But my dream of farming is still as real as ever," he said.

Runner-up to Iestyn was 19-year-old David Evans, of Groeswen Farm House, Groeswen, Cardiff, who is studying for an agriculture BSc degree at Aberystwyth University. He received £200.

Third was 22-year-old Manod Williams, of Tregerddan, Bow Street, near Aberystwyth, who is also studying for BSc in agriculture with animal science at Aberystwyth. He received £100.

Full details on how to apply for the bursary are included in a leaflet available from the FUW's head office in Aberystwyth or at any of the union's local branch offices as well as on the FUW stand at the Eisteddfod.

The closing date for applications is October 1, 2010.


The Farmers' Union of Wales will be promoting Welsh food and farming during its biggest ever presence at the annual Urdd National Eisteddfod next week (May 31-June 5).

This year's venue - the National Trust's property at Llanerchaeron, near Aberaeron - is a rare example of a self-sufficient 18th-century Welsh farm estate which has survived virtually unaltered.

In a unique link-up with the National Trust, the FUW's new mobile display unit will be located on the Home Farm complex which has an impressive range of traditional, atmospheric outbuildings and is a working organic farm with Welsh Black cattle, Llanwenog sheep and rare Welsh pigs.

The union will also have its traditional stand on the Maes and members are welcome to pop in for a cuppa and a Welsh cake while Ceredigion YFC Federation will be holding various events there throughout the week including, on the opening day, setting a challenge for Wales YFC chairman Tim John to have his legs "waxed" and raise funds for the Kidney Wales Foundation.

A food and farm trail quiz-sheet has been compiled with all the answers available on a gentle stroll from the FUW stand on the Maes to the mobile unit via Llanerchaeron's walled gardens and farmyard.

A hamper of local food and drink will be the main prize for the quiz and a Llanerchaeron meat voucher and piggy banks will be the prizes for the lucky winners of a "guess the weight of three little pigs" competition.

Activities alongside the mobile unit begin on Tuesday with a bee-keeping demonstration by FUW's former Cardiganshire county executive officer Lewis Griffith who will repeat the demonstration on Thursday.

Also on Tuesday popular characters from S4C's Ceredigion-based children's programme Pentre Bach will be available to sign autographs and pose for photographs on the FUW stand between 11am and noon.

On the Wednesday and Thursday there will be intriguing displays at the mobile unit of the work of two Talgarreg rural craft exponents - Grug Jones, who makes unusual and artistic willow sculptures, and retired farmer Lloyd Jones, who has a fascinating collection of rope knots.

Meanwhile, the National Trust will also hold a series of events and talks at the farm complex throughout the week including regular shearing displays of local Llanwenog sheep plus an exhibition of various breeds of poultry.

There will also be an opportunity to visit the unique Geler Jones collection of farm machinery, carts, and rural artefacts housed in a purpose-built shed near the FUW mobile unit.

"The FUW is delighted to work with the National Trust to give visitors to the eisteddfod the chance to discover how a working farm produced enough food to make the estate self-sufficient," said the union's Ceredigion county executive officer Owen Jenkins.

"We sincerely hope that the young and not-so-young visitors will remember what both organisations are attempting to do - educate the public to appreciate that food security is one of today's major worldwide issues."


The Farmers' Union of Wales today warned farmers to double check their Single Application Form (SAF) acknowledgment slips after a series of computer scanning errors had been discovered.

"SAF scanning errors have been discovered by a number of our county executive offices across Wales and had these gone unnoticed our members could have lost significant sums of money," said FUW's Carmarthenshire county executive officer Meinir Bartlett.

"We are particularly concerned at the sheer number of errors that we have noticed on acknowledgement slips sent out by the Assembly Government to our members. Thankfully our staff and members have spotted these by cross-checking them against photocopies of their original SAF forms"

One discrepancy involving a Carmarthenshire FUW member showed a 5.28ha field scanned as 1.00ha, and out of a total of 74 field entries in the county, there were 12 scanning errors.

The breakdown of errors is: crosses declaring the intention to claim Single Payment on four fields not scanned; cross declaring the intention to claim Tir Mynydd on one field not scanned; details of field "statuses" not scanned on five occasions; and declaration of an intention to claim Glastir not scanned on two occasions.

"Had these errors by the Welsh Assembly Government not been picked up, they could have led to significant losses for the businesses concerned," said Mrs Bartlett.

"Every year the FUW deals with members who have lost significant sums of money due to minor errors on extremely complicated forms and some end up losing sums that are equivalent to their entire annual incomes.

"Very few of those people get their money back due to the strict enforcement of EU rules relating to obvious errors and exceptional circumstances.

"We fully appreciate that such errors are a part and parcel of normal life and that no system is infallible. But when it comes to farmers making equivalent errors, they have the book thrown at them and can be fined like criminals, even for placing a single tick in the wrong box.

"For those who have lost thousands of pounds and had the viability of their businesses put on the line due to errors that everyone - including officials - agrees were accidental, this will smack of one rule for them and one rule for us.

"But the bottom line is that this is firm evidence of the need to treat errors as errors, and allow them to be corrected without fining people, no matter whether the errors are made by farmers or the Welsh Assembly Government."


The Farmers' Union of Wales' Pembrokeshire branch is keen to highlight the achievements of younger farmers in the county so it has extended the period for nominations for its annual Countryside Award.

To be eligible for the award the nominee must be 40 years of age or under on January 1, 2010; actively involved in agricultural production or land management; and normally resident within Pembrokeshire.

A cash prize, perpetual trophy and a year's free FUW membership will be awarded.

Further details and nomination forms can be obtained by telephoning the Pembrokeshire FUW Office on 01437 762913. All nominations must now be submitted by Friday 4 June 2010.

Last year the award was won by a young farmer who achieved a 20-year ambition to run his own dairy farm when his local council offered him a holding.

Thirty-three-year-old Julian Nicholas, of Lower Coxhill Farm, Narberth, who has worked in agriculture all his life, was presented with the award plus £100 and a year's free FUW membership during last August's Pembrokeshire County Show.

Inviting nominations for this year's award, FUW Pembrokeshire county chairman Dai Miles said: "If the agricultural industry is to have a future in Pembrokeshire it is vital that we not only encourage new entrants into the industry, but that we also acknowledge the hard work of existing younger farmers and nurture them."


TWO Aberystwyth University students from Glamorganshire currently studying agriculture - David Evans from Caerphilly and Rachel Barrett of Pontllanfraith - have each received £100 study grants from the Farmers' Union of Wales Walter Rowlands Memorial Fund.

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.

To recognise his contribution to the union, the Walter Rowlands Memorial Fund grants an annual award of £100 to students, living within the old Glamorgan county boundary, who have been accepted for an agricultural course. The award is a contribution towards the cost of books and equipment.

David Evans lives at Groeswen Farm, Groeswen, near Caerphilly, which was established by his grandfather. In 2006, he completed a BTEC 1st Diploma (Distinction) at Pencoed Agricultural College and then continued his studies at Coleg Gelli Aur, achieving a triple distinction in a National Diploma in Agriculture. He also received the Ben Evans Award for Student of the Year in 2009.

As a self-financing student he spent every weekend and holiday gaining practical experience on a neighbour's hill farm near Caerphilly. He passed his Blue Certificate for shearing and bought his own equipment to work alongside other experienced farmers.

His spare time is spent training his two sheep dogs, improving his riding skills or designing equipment that would reduce the time and workload of routine tasks around the farm. He is currently studying for a BSc (Hons) Degree in Agriculture at Aberystwyth.

Rachel Barrett, of Heath Road, Pontllanfraith, Blackwood, does not have a farming background but she loves working with animals and has great interest in environmental issues.

She initially believed that she wanted to be a veterinary surgeon but since starting her course in Aberystwyth it has opened her mind to the many opportunities she can follow including working with Defra or in habitat ecology. She would like to have her own smallholding one day and be as self sufficient as possible.

She is currently studying a Foundation (FdSc) Agriculture course at Aberystwyth University and her hobbies include being a member of the St John Ambulance Brigade with whom she has many qualifications within different areas.

She enjoys learning sign language and has helped raise funds for the St David's Foundation. She is also a member of the University Mountaineering and ballroom dancing clubs.

FUW Glamorganshire county executive officer Adrian Evans said: "The judging panel was unanimous in agreeing that they were both very deserving of the award and decided to make two awards for the first in the fund's long history."

Applications for the 2011 Walter Rowlands Memorial Award should be sent to FUW's Glamorganshire County Office, 58 Eastgate, Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, CF71 7AB, by 30 November 2010. For further details call 01446 774838.


THE future of the family farm must be a major priority of a new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), Farmers' Union of Wales president Gareth Vaughan told AMs at the National Assembly today.

Presenting the union's evidence to the Assembly rural development sub-committee's inquiry into reform of the CAP, he said: "I would like to thank you for holding this inquiry into one of the most important issues facing the agricultural industry in Wales over the coming years.

"However, I believe that our evidence shows that the future of the CAP is not just of importance to Welsh agriculture but also to our wider communities - to the very backbone of our rural economy and to every Welsh citizen."

In 2005, the Treasury and Defra published "A Vision for the Common Agricultural Policy", setting out the UK Government''s vision for EU agricultural policy to 2020.

The key policy reforms proposed included: alignment of import tariffs for all agricultural sectors with other sectors of the economy; abolition of production subsidies; abolition of price and direct income support measures; and abolition of export subsidies.

Following publication of the policy, the UK Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) was commissioned by the Welsh Assembly Government and other administrations to analyse the impact of these key reform proposals on agriculture in Wales and the other devolved regions. The results, published in July 2009, revealed significant adverse impacts for Welsh agriculture and rural communities.

"To look at the possible worst case outcome of CAP reform for Wales we need look no further than the policies of the previous UK Government and the impact of these as predicted by FAPRI," said Mr Vaughan.

"Their work concludes that scaling down agricultural support and opening up our markets will have dramatic consequences for Welsh agriculture, rural employment and our rural communities.

"Such a watering down of the CAP would also mean abandoning our food security and deconstructing a framework which would otherwise be instrumental in tackling the key challenges of our age - namely, mitigating climate change without undermining food production.

"The FUW believes that to address these issues we need a robust CAP which is funded at a level that reflects the importance of these challenges and above all has the future of the family farm at its core," Mr Vaughan added.


The future of food will be the topic for discussion in a question and answer session during the Farmers' Union of Wales' Carmarthenshire county branch's annual general meeting at Cwmcerrig Farm Shop, Gorslas, on Monday June 7 (7.15pm for 7.30).

The panel will consist of Wales's Dairy Development Centre manager John Griffiths, Cwmcerrig Farm Shop director Roland Watkins, Wales YFC rural affairs committee chairman Dylan Jones and FUW senior policy officer Hazel Wright.

FUW Carmarthenshire county executive officer Meinir Bartlett said Cwmcerrig Farm Shop is the ideal venue for the meeting, especially the discussion on the future of food. "I am well aware that the Watkins family is passionate about producing good food.

"Their shop provides an alternative outlet for the pedigree Hereford Beef, Texel lambs, turkeys, chickens, geese, ducks and eggs reared in the traditional way on their family-run farm.

"To get the premium stock desired they had to innovate and that is the reason they built the farm shop. They take a great deal of pride in producing such a wide variety of food within just a few hundred yards of the shop which also stocks many other foods from all parts of Carmarthenshire."

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/