FUW WELCOMES EU PARLIAMENT CAP REPORT

The decision of MEPs from across the political spectrum to support the "Dess Report" on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was described by new Farmers' Union of Wales president Emyr Jones today as a significant step forward.

However, in welcoming the report's general thrust and its emphasis on food production, Mr Jones expressed concern over proposals to introduce further "greening measures" into the regime.

"The significant emphasis on the need to retain the CAP budget and ensure continued food production in the EU is welcome, and demonstrates that MEPs are aware of the major challenges facing the world over the coming decades," he said. "However, unless we are careful ''greening'' will simply serve to limit food production.

"The FUW continues to argue that any greening measures should be focused on maximising production while minimising environmental impact in a way which actually benefits both the environment and farmers, for example by reducing input costs and increasing efficiency."

The report approved by the MEPs proposes that payments are subject to farmers choosing greening measures from a menu which could include lowering carbon emissions, capturing greenhouse gas emissions, buffer strips, field margins, hedges, maintaining permanent pasture, crop rotation and crop diversity plans.

The report also gives the go-ahead to capping of individual CAP payments made to farmers.

"The FUW has consulted widely with its membership over capping and the clear view is that the membership does not object to the principle so long as the number of employees or family members supported by farm businesses is taken into account," said Mr Jones.

The report also calls for suitable policy instruments to be put in place to support the dairy industry after the abolition of milk quotas in 2015.

"The FUW has long been opposed to the abolition of the quota regime because of the disruption and dangers which will accompany the move, not least increases in price volatility and the dangers of over-production without any safety net. It now seems that Europe has finally woken up to these.

The Commission's detailed legislative proposals on CAP reform are due to be released in October and must be drawn up in light of the contents of the report.

FUW ANGER OVER CULL DELAY

The Farmers' Union of Wales today reacted angrily to Welsh Government plans to appoint a panel to review the science in relation to a planned badger cull in north Pembrokeshire and other Welsh bTB measures.

Speaking outside the National Assembly after the announcement by Minister John Griffiths, FUW TB spokesman and vice president Brian Walters said: "The previous policy was based on firm scientific evidence which shows badger culling in north Pembrokeshire would significantly reduce TB in cattle.

"The latest scientific evidence, released in April this year, simply reinforces that previously policy.

"It shows a 31.5% reduction in confirmed TB herd incidences in English badger culling areas over the four and a half year period after badger culling ended, and a reduction of 37% in the six months to March 2011.

"Cattle farmers are being crippled by this disease, are incurring massive extra costs and are seeing their businesses locked down, particularly in north Pembrokeshire where harsh restrictions have been in place for well over a year.

"Yet we seem to be procrastinating over the major obstacle to disease eradication, which is the massive presence of TB in badgers."

According to the latest available statistics on TB in cattle and badgers across Wales, the rate of TB in badgers is around 32 times higher than it is in cattle.

Mr Walters added that, while the FUW fully supports the development of a practical and effective badger vaccine, no vaccine candidate had yet been shown to be worthwhile.

"Some people are giving out extremely misleading statements which suggest that we could be reducing TB incidences by vaccination as we speak.

"Important progress was made public in November last year when a paper on catching and injecting badgers with BCG vaccine was published.

"However, the scientists responsible made it clear that we did not yet know the effectiveness of vaccination as a tool by which to reduce TB incidences."

Mr Walters was referring to a briefing note, issued by the scientists responsible for the vaccine research, which stated that "...the field results cannot tell us the degree of vaccine efficacy...Several thousand badgers would need to be killed to determine the presence and severity of TB at detailed post-mortem examination...we do not know how deployment of the badger vaccine in the field would affect TB incidence in cattle...A large-scale vaccination field trial, at least on the scale of the RBCT, would be needed to scientifically assess the impact of badger vaccination on the incidence of disease in cattle".

Mr Walters said badger culling, therefore, remains the only tried and tested method of reducing TB herd outbreaks in an area where TB is present in badgers.

"While we have seen an encouraging reduction in cattle TB incidences over the past two years, the latest figures suggest that the disease may be on the rise again.

"In the past five years more than 44,000 cattle have been culled in Wales due to TB. At the disease rates present in the 1990s it would have taken between 50 and 100 years for us to reach this number.

"We cannot keep stalling matters in order to avoid difficult decisions in relation to culling badgers. We know badger culling works, and badgers are nowhere near being endangered.

"According to the experts, if we were to carry out a proper badger vaccine trial this would also involve culling thousands of badgers, but with no guarantee of a positive outcome."

NEW FUW TEAM AT THE HELM

Following the election of Bala sheep and beef farmer Emyr Jones as president of the Farmers’ Union of Wales during the union’s annual general meeting last Friday, the rest of the influential finance and organisation committee members were revealed today.

Mr Jones’s deputy will be Glyn Roberts, Dylasau Uchaf, Padog, Betws-Y-Coed, Conwy, who has been one of the union’s three vice presidents since 2004.

Having completed a full-time agricultural course at Glynllifon College in 1976, and not being a farmer's son, he went to work as a shepherd at Dylasau Uchaf - a 350-acre farm owned by the National Trust  which he secured the tenancy of in 1983.

From 2006-2008 he was the FUW’s representative on the board of Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) and for the past three years he has been a Welsh Assembly Government appointment non-executive director on the HCC board.

Carmarthenshire dairy farmer Brian Walters was re-elected one of the three vice presidents with Welsh Black Cattle breeder Lorraine Howells, of Rhymney, Gwent, and sheep farmer Richard Vaughan, of Tywyn, Meirionnydd, the other two.

Anglesey and Pembrokeshire dairy farmers Eifion Huws and Brian Thomas were elected north and south Wales representatives on the committee respectively.

Brian Walters, farms a 500-acre holding, with his wife Ann and sons Aled and Seimon, near Carmarthen. They have a dairy herd of 200 cows - some of which are pedigree Ayrshires - with 200 followers and 40 beef cattle.  They also run a self-catering farmhouse holiday unit and take pride in educating the occupants on the problems and joys of farming.

Miss Howells, who has been the south Wales member of the finance and organisation committee since 2000 and farms Cwm Carno Farm, a 220-acre hill farm most comprising reclaimed opencast land with common grazing.

The farm carries a suckler herd of pedigree Welsh Black cattle and South Wales Mountain ewes, and has been in the family for over 100 years.

Mr Vaughan and his wife Dwynwen’s Pall Mall Farm north of Tywyn is one of two holdings, totalling 550 acres. Most of the 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 30 store cattle are kept and fattened over the summer.

Mr Huws has been an active member of the finance and organisation committee for the past five years. He is also chairman of the union’s milk and dairy produce committee.

He farms at Penrhos, Bodedern, a dairy farm with a 140-head pedigree Ayrshire herd which has an outstanding production and show record.

Mr Huws, a highly respected Ayrshire cattle judge, travels the length and breadth of the country, and in Europe, representing the dairy industry in the hope of acquiring better conditions and prices for farmers.

Mr Thomas is currently establishing a herd of pedigree beef shorthorn cattle and increasing the size of his sheep flock as well as growing some cereals on his 280-acre farm, Llwyncelyn Lan, Llanfyrnach.  He is also developing a new garage and MOT station in Crymych in conjunction with his previous tenant.

During the 1996 BSE outbreak, Mr Thomas was one of the lead campaigners in South West Wales opposing the importation of inferior beef into Wales.  Having heard a report on the BBC regarding protests at Holyhead harbour he arranged a meeting in Crymych and addressed over 1,500 farmers.

In 1997 he led a group of 10 farmers to Tesco’s stand at the Royal Welsh Show to address them about the unfair way in which they were treating the industry.

EMYR JONES ELECTED FUW PRESIDENT

Farmers' Union of Wales deputy president Emyr Jones was elected as the union's president during a meeting of its grand council in Aberystwyth today (Friday, June 17).

A former vice president of the union, Mr Jones, 63, was brought up on the family farm, Rhiwaedog, Rhosygwaliau, Bala, which extends to 356 acres and carries 60 suckler cows and 1150 sheep.

Speaking after his election, Mr Jones said: "I am proud to have been chosen to lead the FUW whose principles I strongly believe in and that is why I am a loyal member. In my new role I want to ensure that our hills and valleys are alive with the sound of families going about their business on their farms.

"My dream is that someone from Wales is always there in Brussels fighting on our behalf for our future. I believe in the Welsh farming industry which I have been involved with all my life. I believe we need a strong union because farmers can't ensure their future by themselves."

He was the union's Meirionnydd county chairman from 1998 to 2000 and for many years represented the county branch on the central hill farming and marginal land committee.

He was elected to represent North Wales on the union's central finance and organisation committee in June 2000, a vice president in June 2002 and deputy president in 2003.

He is a prominent member of a number of organisations including the Welsh Mountain Sheep Society, the Welsh Black Cattle Society, and is a director of the Meirionnydd County Show.

He is also a former chairman of Meirionnydd Grassland Society.

His contribution to agriculture was recognised in 1995 when he became an Associate of the Royal Agricultural Societies and received the honour of Fellow in 2001.

His family farm has won several prizes over the years including the British Grassland Society's national grassland management competition in 2008, the Royal Welsh Show Farm Buildings and Facilities Award and the Snowdonia National Park Society Farming and Landscape Award.

The family has hosted several farm visits over the years by various organisations and societies. Mr Jones also devotes a great deal of time to community life, being a former chairman of the community council.

He is involved with his local show at Llangower and is also a deacon at his local chapel. He is passionately committed to the principles on which the FUW was established.

The new deputy president is Glyn Roberts, Dylasau Uchaf, Padog, Betws-Y-Coed, Conwy, who steps up from vice president.

In 1983 Mr Roberts secured the tenancy of Dylasau Uchaf, a 350-acre farm owned by the National Trust.

Since 2004 he has been one of the union's three vice presidents.

FUW HONOURS BROADCASTER DEI TOMOS FOR SERVICES TO AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY IN WALES

Dei Tomos, a familiar voice and face on BBC Radio Cymru and S4C programmes, was presented with an award by the Farmers' Union of Wales at the union's annual general meeting in Aberystwyth today (Friday, June 17) in recognition of his services to the farming industry.

Presenting him with the union's annual external award, FUW president Gareth Vaughan said: "Dei is highly respected in farming circles for his in-depth knowledge of agriculture and, in the wider community, for his love of the countryside.

"His early morning radio bulletins on Radio Cymru are essential listening for farmers throughout Wales and I'm delighted to present him with this award.

"Dei Tomos makes a valuable contribution every morning on Radio Cymru with the latest agricultural news and issues for those working within the farming industry," added Mr Vaughan.

Dei is currently responsible for the farming news on Radio Cymru every morning (Monday to Friday) as well as the Byd Amaeth programme on Saturday mornings which concerns farming, food production and the countryside. He also has a varied programme on Sunday nights which involves history and traditions, heritage, literature, art, music and the Welsh "pethe".

In the past, he has also presented television programmes about nature and wildlife, countryside and leisure, gardening and food as well as agriculture. In May 2009 he was made an Associate of the Royal Agricultural Societies in recognition of his contribution to the promotion of agriculture through the media.

Dei was brought up in Waunfawr and Nantperis, and attended Waunfawr School, Caernarfon Grammar School and Bangor Normal College. He spent 12 years working with Urdd Gobaith Cymru as a county organiser in Montgomeryshire and as the deputy head of the Urdd Centre at Glan-llyn.

He has been active in the world of voluntary organisations concerning the Welsh countryside and is now a Welsh committee member of the National Lottery's Heritage Fund.

He has also been national chairman of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales and remains one of the vice presidents of the organisation. He is also the vice president of the Council for National Parks (CNP).

He was appointed for three terms as a member of the Snowdonia National Park Authority by the Secretary of State for Wales and then was a member of the Countryside Council for Wales for 10 years. This was also an appointment made by the Secretary of State for Wales, initially, and subsequently by the Assembly Government.

Locally, he is a former member and chairman of governors at Ysgol Dolbadarn, Llanberis, and is a former community councillor. For some four years now he has been the clerk of the council.

FUW HONOURS GARETH VAUGHAN FOR SERVICES TO AGRICULTURE IN WALES

Farmers' Union of Wales president Gareth Vaughan - who retires today (Friday June 17) after eight years in the post - received the union's annual internal award for his services to the agricultural industry during the organisation's annual general meeting in Aberystwyth.

Mr Vaughan was elected 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.

His term in office has seen two outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease, a devastating rise in bovine tuberculosis and a slump in farm incomes.

Paying tribute to him, FUW deputy president Emyr Jones said: "Gareth has been a towering presence within the FUW. He has represented us with great dignity and forcefulness during private meetings with Government Ministers and officials and at public engagements throughout Wales.

"He is a true champion of farming and a true champion of the FUW," added Mr Jones.

About his term in office, Mr Vaughan said many of the problems of the past eight years will remain on the agenda of the farming world.

"No-one could have predicted that we would live through two spells of foot-and-mouth and so many other animal health issues including the arrival of Bluetongue for the first time.

"Bovine TB was not really talked about eight years ago but now it's a serious problem in some parts of Wales."

Mr Vaughan runs a traditional beef and sheep unit at Cwmyrhiwdre Farm, Dolfor, near Newtown, in partnership with his wife of over 40 years, Audrey, and 13 years ago his daughter Catherine and son-in-law Brian joined the business.

Speaking about his retirement as president, Mr Vaughan said: "I will be getting my hands a bit dirty again and I've always enjoyed training sheepdogs and shooting so I'll be doing more of that.

"All my family are on the farm with me and we are very fortunate that we see our grandchildren every day," he added.

Born in Llanidloes in 1941, Mr Vaughan attended Manledd Primary and Llanidloes High Schools. He was chairman of the union's Newtown branch in 1988-89, Montgomeryshire county chairman from 1991-93 and has also 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.

Mr Vaughan was awarded the MBE in the 2011 New Year Honours List for services to agriculture and stated he was proud to accept the honour on behalf of all staff within the union who carry out such dedicated work.

He added that he owed a great deal to Llangurig YFC, which he joined after leaving school at 15, and the FUW, both of which "have been there for me" after "wasting so much of my school days".

RED TAPE ARMY UNDERMINING FARMERS, SAYS FUW LEADER

An aggressive army of EU auditors incapable of understanding commonsense is undermining farmers' efforts by imposing draconian fines for red tape mistakes, retiring Farmers' Union of Wales president Gareth Vaughan said today.

He told the union's annual general meeting in Aberystwyth that confidence remained high within the industry in spite of numerous broken promises by politicians over plans to slash red tape and bureaucracy.

"Despite ongoing concerns over the age profile of our farming population, the enthusiasm of our young and upcoming farmers is something which continues to fill me with confidence about our future.

"However, as I think back to how our industry was almost a decade ago, and re-read some of the assurances given to us over the years, it seems that this confidence exists in spite of a host of broken promises.

"Foremost amongst these are the regular assurances by those who govern us over cuts to red tape and bureaucracy, and the broken promises which have followed, with Brussels standing out as a clear winner in the race to go back on their word."

Mr Vaughan said that in January 2007 the European Commission presented its Action Programme for Reducing Administrative Burdens in the EU which, it claimed, showed "the way in which the Commission intends to work with Member States to cut administrative burdens on businesses by a quarter by 2012".

"But in the four and a half years since then, bureaucracy for farm businesses has escalated dramatically, coupled with draconian fines for those who make inadvertent and inconsequential mistakes," Mr Vaughan added.

"These fines are often implemented at the behest of an aggressive army of EU auditors which is seemingly incapable of understanding commonsense or proportionality.

"With just six months in which to 'cut administrative burdens on businesses by a quarter' and more EU red tape in the pipeline, it is clear that this statement represents just another broken promise.

"Yet for my successor there may be some light on the horizon because the Lisbon Treaty now means that our elected representatives are answerable for such failings.

"It is down to us - not just as a Union but also as individual farmers - to hold them accountable for their actions or inactions."

FUW WELCOMES END OF BLUETONGUE RESTRICTIONS

The Farmers' Union of Wales today welcomed the news that Bluetongue restrictions on the export of sheep and cattle from Great Britain are to be lifted next month.

"We are very pleased to learn that these restrictions, which have been in place since the 2007 Bluetongue outbreak, will be lifted on July 5," said FUW president Gareth Vaughan.

"I understand the last confirmed case of Bluetongue in GB was in 2008 and the results of surveillance carried out in November 2010 show there is no evidence of Bluetongue virus circulation in GB. All samples were negative for all BTV serotypes.

"This is a very positive outcome for Welsh farming but, naturally, everyone involved with the industry must continue to be mindful of the effects of this highly infectious disease and do all they can to make sure it does not return to our shores," Mr Vaughan added.

FUW GROUP MEET UK FARM MINISTER AT WESTMINSTER

[caption id="attachment_4345" align="aligncenter" width="400"]From left, FUW deputy president Emyr Jones, president Gareth Vaughan, deputy agricultural policy director Rhian Nowell-Phillips, UK farming minister Jim Paice, agricultural policy director Nick Fenwick and Dwyfor Meirionnydd MP Elfyn Llwyd. From left, FUW deputy president Emyr Jones, president Gareth Vaughan, deputy agricultural policy director Rhian Nowell-Phillips, UK farming minister Jim Paice, agricultural policy director Nick Fenwick and Dwyfor Meirionnydd MP Elfyn Llwyd.[/caption]

Farmers' Union of Wales president Gareth Vaughan today (Tuesday June 7) praised the Westminster government for publishing a draft bill for a Groceries Market Ombudsman following years of lobbying by the union for such an appointment.

During a meeting organised by Dwyfor Meirionnydd MP Elfyn Llwyd, Mr Vaughan congratulated the minister and urged him to ensure an Act with powers to deal with abuses of power by supermarkets is granted Royal Ascent as soon as was possible.

"A good relationship between retailers and suppliers in the grocery market is important and we believe that all parties will benefit greatly from an independent body to monitor and regulate the sector."

On CAP reform, the FUW delegation told Mr Paice it was broadly supportive of the Dess Report, the European Parliament's draft report on the future of the CAP, but had major concerns about the impact of "greening measures" on food production when massive global food shortages were being predicted.

"We emphasised that any such measures must not adversely impact on production," said Mr Vaughan. "They should complement it by encouraging efficiencies which have environmental benefits and also lead to savings.

"We urged the minister to highlight this during talks with other Member States over the future of the CAP."

The FUW representatives drew the minister's attention to the importance of Welsh family farms and the essential contribution they make to food production and maintaining the natural environment.

"We also expressed concern about the impact that factory farms and super dairies would have on rural communities and the public's perception of farming.

"This reflected the view of the FUW's dairy committee which, earlier this year, supported a policy position opposing super dairies on the grounds that they would lower milk prices and drive family farms out of production."

The meeting also discussed a number of aspects pertinent to Wales of the independent Farming Regulation Task Force's recent report and union representatives emphasised the need to implement its recommendations at the earliest opportunity to minimise costs for businesses and government bodies alike.

"As long term campaigners against the EC's disproportionate penalty system, the union also welcomed the recommendations regarding CAP penalties," said Mr Vaughan.

"We pressed the minister to do all he could at an European level to ensure that the final post-2013 CAP regulations were proportionate in terms of administrative errors and inconsequential breaches of complex rules.

"Everybody agrees - whether they are farm inspectors or politicians - that the current penalty regime is completely disproportionate, yet EU auditors continue to bully Member States and regions into making the penalties and rules more and more draconian."

On bovine TB, Mr Vaughan told the minister the length of the Wales-England border, and the importance of cross border trade, made English TB an important issue for Welsh farmers, particularly given the number of cross border farms close to or in areas severely affected by TB.

"Many of our members with land in England are severely affected by this disease and action must be taken in order to reduce its prevalence in both England and Wales.

"Welsh efforts to drive forward with an eradication programme will be severely undermined if a major disease reservoir is allowed to continue to grow in England.

"For this reason, I urged the minister to press on with a badger cull in England which has been shown 'categorically' to be effective, and is still leading to benefits four and a half years after the last English cull came to an end.

"We also emphasised the importance of minimising red tape and costs associated with proposals to allow farmers to cull badgers, and asked that Defra work closely with the Welsh Government in ensuring any actions close to the border of Wales did not have an adverse impact on Welsh farmers."

The delegation also touched on a number of broader issues relating to the rural economy and highlighted the severe impact fuel prices were having for rural businesses.

"We are already paying higher tax because the 4x4 vehicles we rely on are being classed as unnecessary luxuries - in other words Chelsea tractors - in addition to which our rural businesses are being crippled by fuel costs which are higher than in urban areas.

"The reality is that there are no alternatives such as public transport and government should recognise this by reducing costs for rural dwellers, for example by giving them a fuel tax rebate."

FUW HAILS OFFICIAL BID TO SUPPLY WELSH LAMB TO CHINA

The Farmers' Union of Wales today hailed First Minister Carwyn Jones' official backing for the union's efforts to secure a market in China for Welsh Lamb.

"Our bid to put Welsh Lamb on the menu in China began at the union's annual Farmhouse Breakfast Week function in the House of Lords during January 2010 when UK Chinese Embassy minister Zhou Xiaoming, who is in charge of all trade and investment issues between China and the UK including agriculture, was guest speaker," said union president Gareth Vaughan.

"The function was hosted by the late Lord Livsey of Talgarth, the former Liberal Democrat MP for Brecon and Radnor whose successor at Westminster, Roger Williams, led a delegation to the Chinese Embassy in London three years ago to promote Welsh Lamb.

"Mr Williams suggested we invite a Chinese Embassy representative and Zhou Xiaoming sat on the top table alongside myself and Hybu Cig Cymru-Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) chairman Rees Roberts who invited him to visit last July's Royal Welsh Show where we had further discussions with him.

"The FUW has played a key role in this potentially hugely exciting trade opportunity and we are delighted that Carwyn Jones has already met a top level official from China as part of the Welsh Government's efforts to open up lamb exports to the country."

The First Minister held talks last week in Cardiff with Xiang Yuzhang, Chief Inspector of Quality Supervision, Inspection & Quarantine (AQSIQ) in the People's Republic of China. AQSIQ controls the import and export of food to mainland China.

Welsh farmers are currently not allowed to sell lamb meat to China but Mr Jones said: "We know there is an appetite for Welsh lamb across the globe and since 2008 we have been exporting to Hong Kong with great success.

"We now want to build on this and move closer to the prospect of importing Welsh lamb to the potentially huge Chinese market."

HCC chief executive Gwyn Howells said market research carried out by HCC shows there is a major demand in China for Welsh Lamb.

"If we are successful in gaining access to the Chinese market it will be a major boost for the 33,000 people who work in the Welsh red meat industry and for the economy of Wales as a whole."

FUW WARNING TO FARMERS AS PENALTY CLOCK STARTS TICKING

The Farmers' Union of Wales today warned farmers to check their Single Application Form (SAF) statements for errors and contact the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) if they have any concerns as soon as possible.

The warning comes on the May 31 deadline after which hefty penalties are incurred for corrections or late forms, and ten days before late forms and corrections are automatically rejected.

Speaking at the Urdd National Eisteddfod, FUW president Gareth Vaughan said: "This year's Positional Accuracy Improvement process has added significantly to the complexity of filling in SAF forms, adding to the risk of errors being made on forms.

"Every year the FUW deals with penalties applied to members' Single Payments due to errors made on SAF forms and these can and do lead to people loosing their entire annual income."

Mr Vaughan added that in previous years the FUW had also encountered a significant number of scanning errors made by the WAG which could have significantly delayed payments.

"It is, therefore, essential that people take the time to check their SAF statements for accuracy. A good place to start is by looking at the amount of total forage area declared which can often alert you to obvious problems.

"If you haven't received any kind of acknowledgement that WAG has received your IACS form, then you should contact WAG as soon as possible in case the form has somehow been lost."

Under EC rules, any SAF forms received between May 17 and June 10 2011 will incur financial penalties, after which the forms are completely rejected.

From May 31 to June 10 amendments to add field parcels, change the use of land parcels, or changes to the claims made on land parcels will lead to a late submission penalty of 1% per working day. No amendments are accepted after June 10 2011.

If farmers have already been notified of an error on their SAF, or have been notified of an inspection which subsequently reveals errors, it is not possible to rectify the error or amend details of the parcels of land concerned.

FUW RAISES HUGE SUM FOR AIR AMBULANCE

[caption id="attachment_4338" align="aligncenter" width="550"]VALUABLE CONTRIBUTION: Rachael Beech receives the £15,316.59 cheque from Gareth Vaughan - left - and Emyr Jones. VALUABLE CONTRIBUTION: Rachael Beech receives the £15,316.59 cheque from Gareth Vaughan - left - and Emyr Jones.[/caption]

The total amount raised by Farmers' Union of Wales members and supporters for president Gareth Vaughan's Wales Air Ambulance (WAA) charity is £15,316.59, the union revealed today.

Presenting the cheque to WAA fundraising co-ordinator Rachael (correct spelling) Beech during the recent Royal Welsh Smallholder and Garden Festival, Mr Vaughan said the air ambulance service is a most appropriate and fully deserving cause for a national organisation representing rural areas.

Mrs Beech said: "Wales Air Ambulance relies solely on community donations as we don't get any government funding. So to have local organisations such as the FUW and their local committees on board means so much.

"To be supported by the farming community is a huge benefit to us, not just the financial support but the support in general. We are again very grateful for all the hard work."

The annual cost of sustaining WAA's three air bases, which cover the whole of Wales from Caernarfon, Welshpool and Swansea airports, is over £5m and only through continued public support are they able to meet these targets.

Mr Vaughan added: "Due to Wales' widely scattered population and diverse landscape, there is a proven need for their helicopters to be fully operational throughout the year.

"I am well aware the Air Ambulance has been a lifesaver time and time again in all parts of rural Wales and as a representative of the farming industry I and my fellow FUW officials are proud to be associated with such a vital service."

Over £10,000 of the total sum handed over was raised jointly at a promise auction and hog roast at deputy president Emyr Jones' farm at Rhiwaedog, Rhosygwaliau, near Bala, and by the union's Caernarfonshire branch which held farmhouse breakfasts on members' farms throughout the county.

ADAM HENSON FINALLY GETS HIS FUW AWARD

[caption id="attachment_4335" align="aligncenter" width="400"]SHEPHERD’S CROOK: Adam Henson - left - receives the FUW Bob Davies Memorial Award from Gareth Vaughan. SHEPHERD’S CROOK: Adam Henson - left - receives the FUW Bob Davies Memorial Award from Gareth Vaughan.[/caption]

BBC TV's Countryfile presenter Adam Henson has finally received his Farmers' Union of Wales Bob Davies Memorial Award in recognition of his major contribution towards raising the profile of Welsh farming.

He should have received it at last July's Royal Welsh Agricultural Show but was unable to attend due to filming commitments in the Lake District.

Instead he was presented with the award - a shepherd's crook carved by Aberystwyth stick maker Hywel Evans - by FUW president Gareth Vaughan during the recent Royal Welsh Smallholder and Garden Festival where he judged the rare breeds classes.

Mr Vaughan said: "The poignant manner in which Adam has dealt in the popular Countryfile programmes with a host of difficult issues that affect all Welsh farmers was one of the main reasons why he was chosen as the first winner of the award.

"One of his most memorable items was the manner in which he could barely disguise his emotions after losing, due to bovine TB reactions, one of the two splendid Longhorn steers he had spent months training to work as draft oxen."

Receiving the award, Henson said: "To be awarded with the Bob Davies memorial award is a great honour. I do my work at home and on Countryfile but to be considered as an ambassador to promote British farming and farming in Wales is really very lovely and I am honoured to receive the award."

The award - in memory of Farmers Weekly Wales correspondent Bob Davies, of Welshpool, who died in November 2009 aged 69 - is offered to a media personality who has raised the public profile of Welsh farming.

Henson 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.

BE COOL AND VISIT FUW STAND AT URDD EISTEDDFOD

It will be cool to be seen on the Farmers' Union of Wales stand during the Swansea and District Urdd National Eisteddfod next week (May 30-June 4).

The union will be promoting the work of school milk suppliers "Cool Milk" who recently teamed up with Mudiad Ysgolion Meithrin to launch a free milk scheme to get more children drinking milk in cylchoedd meithrin (Welsh-medium playgroups) and nurseries across Wales.

FUW staff on the stand will also be giving away cartons of milk for youngsters to sample plus copies of Hybu Cig Cymru-Meat Promotion Wales' "Cool2Cook2" bilingual booklet which includes carefully constructed and perfectly balanced recipes to ensure kids across Wales will be desperate to dice, frantic to fry and raring to roast!

FUW president Gareth Vaughan said: "All children under the age of five are entitled to 189ml of milk (third of a pint) at school, play group or nursery but implementing the Cool Milk/MYM scheme has historically come at a large cost to the schools and nurseries themselves.

"School staff have to complete the administration but nurseries also have to fund the children's milk whilst waiting for reimbursement.

"The scheme removes this obligation, as the milk will be fully funded on the cylch meithrin and nursery's behalf meaning they will no longer have to complete administration or claim paperwork.

"It is important for children to drink milk. Health advisers tell us everyone should try to consume at least three portions of dairy a day.

"School milk is ideal for children because it offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to build strong healthy teeth and bones, as well as providing a vital boost of nearly every nutrient essential to their development."

Mr Vaughan said the union was also pleased to highlight the work of HCC by promoting its cookbook. "Research carried out by HCC revealed that many teachers are faced with difficult decisions when it comes to teaching about food.

"Teachers have said that there is often not enough time in the curriculum, or a lack of resources to do the subject justice. That's why HCC produced the original Cool2Cook and, last summer, the follow-up Cool2Cook2.

"They are both high quality and colourful booklets which appeal to primary schoolchildren and help get across the message that a balanced diet is part of a healthy lifestyle.

"It provides essential pointers to choosing, preparing and presenting food that will stand our children in good stead for the rest of their lives.

"HCC encourages everyone to cook balanced meals which include local ingredients, which of course means PGI Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef, and this is especially true of our young people."

Cool2Cook2 features recipes for filled Crispy Bread Cases; 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; Sweet and Sour Pork; Fun & Tasty Sarnies and Easy Peasy Salad.

FUW SLAMS REVISED FSA INSPECTION CHARGES

The Farmers' Union of Wales has slammed the Food Standards Agency (FSA) board for pressing ahead with meat hygiene inspection charges which will cost the farming and meat industry an estimated £25 million.

"While it would appear on the surface that the FSA has made concessions, these are minor compared with the dire impact that the plans will have on the industry, and many suspect that they are merely a smokescreen to hide this fact," said FUW president Gareth Vaughan.

"The FSA's board has effectively agreed to transfer the running costs of an outdated, disproportionate and inefficient monopoly to an industry which has already lost four-fifths of its slaughterhouses in the past two decades, mainly as a result of excessive bureaucracy."

Mr Vaughan said that the inclusion of figures which derive from the FSA's pension deficit simply add insult to injury.

"Why should the industry have to foot a bill which relates to employment contracts over which we had no control and may have been financially unrealistic, as was the case in many other industries? "

Under EU rules the FSA is entitled to collect fees or charges to cover costs occasioned by official controls, but must take account of the interests of businesses with a low throughput; traditional methods used for production, processing and distribution; and the needs of businesses located in regions subject to particular geographical constraints.

"The decision goes wholeheartedly against the spirit, if not the actual meaning, of the EU legislation and will undermines a whole host of secondary and tertiary businesses such as local butchers, restaurants and hotels," said Mr Vaughan.

At a recent meeting of the FSA's Welsh Food Advisory Committee, the FUW expressed major concerns regarding the proposals and called on the FSA to supply all slaughterhouses with details of how the revised plans would change their inspection costs.

Estimates given to slaughterhouses based on the FSA's original proposals showed some small and medium sized operations would see inspection charges rise by scores of thousands of pounds.

"We now need to see similar estimates based on the latest proposals given to all operators so that the repercussions for their businesses can be properly understood, and as far as we are concerned there has not been a proper consultation on these latest proposals," Mr Vaughan added.

"However, the overarching principle remains that industry should not be made to pay for the UK's failure to prevent the creation of a disproportionate, costly and monopolistic inspection regime."

FUW WELCOMES GROCERIES CODE ADJUDICATOR BILL

The Farmers' Union of Wales today welcomed the publication of a draft bill for a Groceries Market Ombudsman following years of lobbying.

"Over the last decade the FUW has consistently argued that the Westminster Government should take the necessary action to redress the imbalance in the powers held by primary producers, processors and retailers," said FUW president Gareth Vaughan.

"We will be scrutinising the bill over the coming days and weeks, and urge Parliament to do the same at the earliest possible opportunity to ensure that no more undue delays occur in terms of this long overdue and much needed legislation.

"Our priority will be to ensure that the final legislation is robust enough to properly enforce the supermarket Code of Conduct and that farmers are able to complain without fear that their names will be passed on to retailers, resulting in retribution and blacklisting.

"The legislation must also ensure that penalties reflect the dominance of these companies over the food supply chain and the huge sums of money that abuses of power allow them to make," added Mr Vaughan.

Earlier this month the FUW urged the Westminster Government to appoint a Grocery Market Ombudsman without delay in a bid to end unfair market practices.

In a letter to Defra Secretary of State Caroline Spelman the union pointed out that it has been almost five years since the Office of Fair Trading authorised an initial investigation by the Competition Commission which published its final report in 2008.

"We have urged the new Government to remain committed to the establishment of a grocery adjudicator with sufficient powers to address the concerns raised by the Competition Commission and are naturally pleased with the publication of the draft bill.

"In 2010 the Grocery Market Ombudsman Bill brought forward by Ynys Môn MP Albert Owen received cross party support and presented an ideal opportunity to take forward the establishment of a supermarket Ombudsman," added Mr Vaughan.

"The initial report found that the buying power of grocery retailers and intermediaries is influencing farm profitability and drew attention to the risks this could pose for the future of the UK agriculture industry.

"We believe that a good relationship between retailers and suppliers in the grocery market is important and that its suppliers and retailers will benefit greatly of an independent body to monitor and regulate the sector," said Mr Vaughan.

FUW ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

The Farmers' Union of Wales Carmarthenshire county branch is holding a “Question Time” session entitled “Sustainable Intensification in Agriculture” during its annual general meeting on Monday June 6 at Llanarthne Hall (7.30pm) .

The panel will consist of Gelli Aur College farm manager and project manager SCE grassland module John Owen, Countryside Council for Wales district team leader Huw Williams , Carmarthenshire YFC rural affairs committee chairman Iwan Thomas and FUW deputy director of agricultural policy Rhian Nowell-Phillips.

FUW LEADERS MEET NEW ASSEMBLY AGRICULTURE MINISTERS

A top-level delegation from the Farmers' Union of Wales has met the two new Welsh Government ministers with responsibilities for agriculture and later revealed the talks were "very constructive".

FUW president Gareth Vaughan, deputy president Emyr Jones and agricultural policy director Nick Fenwick met minister for business, enterprise, technology and science Edwina Hart - who has responsibility for tourism and agriculture - and her deputy minister Alun Davies, who has day-to-day responsibilities for agriculture, food, fisheries and European programmes.

Mr Vaughan said today: "We raised a broad variety of issues with both ministers including CAP reform, the Tir Mynydd and Glastir agri-environment schemes, and the need to continue the work of the Red Tape Stakeholder group.

"These were very constructive meetings and the minister and deputy minister informed us they were very concerned that the industry should be prosperous, not only for its own sake, but for the sake of all those businesses which rely on it, as well as the wider rural community.

"Both Mrs Hart and Mr Davies expressed their support for the industry and the FUW will be holding them to their words over the coming months and years."

Having attended a meeting of the Welsh food advisory committee earlier in the day at which Food Standards Agency "cost recovery" proposals had dominated the agenda, the delegation raised the issue with both ministers.

"We made it clear that proposed increases in inspection charges for slaughterhouses would result in closures which would undermine a huge range of rural businesses, including many involved in tourism, and would also completely undermine the Welsh food strategy," said Mr Vaughan.

A union delegation will also meet environment minister John Griffiths next Tuesday to discuss issues which fall within his portfolio including bovine TB and the proposed north Pembrokeshire badger cull, and sheep EID.

FUW SLAMS EC REFUSAL TO RECOGNISE SHEEP EID PROBLEMS

[caption id="attachment_4320" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Gareth Vaughan Gareth Vaughan[/caption]

The EC's failure to allow rules which deal with technological failures while using electrical instruments to read electronic sheep identification (EID) tags was slammed by Farmers' Union of Wales president Gareth Vaughan today (Wednesday May 18).

Speaking at the NSA Welsh Sheep Event near Machynlleth, Mr Vaughan revealed he had written to the EC's agriculture and rural affairs commissioner Dacian CioloÕs and health and consumer policy commissioner John Dalli expressing the union's deep concern and dismay at the EC's response to discussions on tolerance levels for the "inherent and unavoidable problems" associated with compulsory sheep EID.

"The rules in place at the time of the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak were a world away from those which came into force in subsequent years, yet the tragedy which befell UK farmers then is being used to justify regulations which require the use of a technology which cannot deliver the accuracy required by those same rules" said Mr Vaughan, a Newtown sheep farmer.

"It is basically a Catch 22 Regulation which is tailor made to create financial penalties for farm businesses, and we had therefore been in discussion to ensure that the inherent shortcomings of the technology were recognised."

Mr Vaughan added that the EC is well aware of the problems with EID technology after being repeatedly presented with evidence which confirms it is not yet capable of delivering 100% accuracy, and had initially accepted the need for dialogue over changes which took these failings into account.

But at a meeting between the UK's devolved administrations and EU officials last week, at which a paper on tolerances was discussed, EC staff were dismissive of any approach which takes account of problems with the technology.

"This leads to the ridiculous situation whereby EC regulations require all those in the supply chain to record animal movements with 100% accuracy using a technology which - despite meeting standards set by the EC - cannot deliver such accuracy, and for farmers to then be financially penalised for these failings."

"Many farmers are now under the impression that the Commission's intention is to deliberately generate penalties by enforcing the use of an expensive technology which cannot deliver full compliance."

Mr Vaughan urged both European commissioners to ensure their officials take a proportionate approach to the issue of tolerances or provide guidance as to how all businesses involved in the supply chain can affordably get technology, which meets EC standards, to deliver "100% accuracy 100% of the time."

FUW REPEATS CALL FOR SUPERMARKET OMBUDSMAN

The Farmers’Union of Wales has once again urged the Westminster Government to appoint a Grocery Market Ombudsman without delay in a bid to end unfair market practices.

The union stressed its concerns in a letter to Defra Secretary of State Caroline Spelman pointing out it is almost five years since the Office of Fair Trading authorised an initial investigation by the Competition Commission which published its final report in 2008.

The setting up of a Grocery Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP) in February last year marked the first of the key remedies outlined in the report.

The Government later announced it would proceed with the establishment of an Ombudsman to oversee the GSCOP and the FUW has responded to two separate consultations about the powers and roles of such an adjudicator.

"But more than a year after the first consultation on the introduction of an Ombudsman the industry still remains void of such a body," said FUW president Gareth Vaughan in his letter to Mrs Spelman.

The issue was also raised at the union's milk and dairy produce committee, meeting at its headquarters in Aberystwyth on Thursday, when members felt that without an Ombudsman the GSCOP remained hollow and ineffectual.

“Over the last decade the FUW has consistently argued that the UK Government should take the action necessary to redress the imbalance in the powers held by primary producers, processors and retailers,”” said Mr Vaughan.

“We are urging the new Government to remain committed to the establishment of a groceries adjudicator with sufficient powers to address the concerns raised by the Competition Commission.

“In 2010 the Grocery Market Ombudsman Bill brought forward by Ynys Mon MP Mr Albert Owen received cross party support and presented an ideal opportunity to take forward the establishment of a supermarket Ombudsman,” added Mr Vaughan.

FUW BACKS NFU SCOTLAND MILK PRICE PROPOSAL

[caption id="attachment_4315" align="aligncenter" width="500"]From left, Eifion Huws, James Withers and FUW director of agricultural policy Nick Fenwick From left, Eifion Huws, James Withers and FUW director of agricultural policy Nick Fenwick[/caption]

The Farmers' Union of Wales' milk and dairy produce committee today gave its full backing to a milk price formula produced by National Farmers Union Scotland which could fundamentally alter the dynamics of the UK milk market.

The unanimous backing followed a meeting of the committee at the union's head office near Aberystwyth during which NFU Scotland's chief executive James Withers outlined their proposals.

The formula, which is based on the widely recognised market indicators of Actual Milk Price Equivalent (AMPE) and Milk for Cheese Value Equivalent (MCVE), in a 20% to 80% split - or variations thereof, was identified by a producer working group set by the Scottish union.

Supporters of the formula believe it could form the foundation for prices which, while continuing to vary between contracts, nevertheless represent the true value of milk. This would reflect a supply and demand dynamic that UK milk prices have failed to recognise over the last decade.

Speaking after the meeting, FUW dairy committee chairman Eifion Huws said: "The FUW has always welcomed the opportunity to work with other UK farming organisations to further the interests of farming families, and we welcome the work and enthusiasm put into this initiative by NFU Scotland.

"Committee members scrutinised the proposals at length, and many of the key issues which have faced the dairy industry over the years were discussed."

Mr Huws said the committee fully recognised that the proposal is a starting point for further discussions. However, it was felt that the union should support it as a move towards greater transparency and a means by which to break the cycle of rhetoric and action that has dominated dairy politics for decades.

Mr Withers said: "If a market-related pricing formula were incorporated as a baseline into producer contracts, it would break the cycle of market failure in the dairy supply chain.

"Such a move could allow dairy farmers, irrespective of whom they sell their milk to, to move forward with improved confidence and greater certainty. It would also deliver sustainability, which is in the best interest of whole supply chain."

Following the committee's backing for the proposals, the FUW will look at further ways in which the proposal can be developed and promoted.

"With dairy farmers in both Scotland and Wales leaving the industry in droves, something desperately needs to be done," said Mr Huws.

"A contract which incorporated this kind of formula could prevent our prices consistently being lower than those on the continent, provide significant transparency, which is what Europe wants, and could put much needed confidence and stability back into the market."

HENSON WILL FINALLY GET HIS AWARD

[caption id="attachment_4311" align="aligncenter" width="400"]POIGNANT PRESENTER: Adam Henson. POIGNANT PRESENTER: Adam Henson.[/caption]

THE presenter of BBC TV's Countryfile farming programme Adam Henson will receive his Farmers' Union of Wales Bob Davies Memorial Award at this month's Royal Welsh Smallholder and Garden Festival (May 21 and 22) where he will judge the rare breed classes.

He should have received the award - a specially carved and inscribed shepherd's crook - at last year's Royal Welsh Show but was unable to attend due to filming commitments in the Lake District.

The poignant manner in which he commented on bovine TB testing during a filmed report at his Cotswold farm was one of the reasons why he was chosen as the first winner of the award which will be presented annually at the Royal Welsh Show.

In his report Henson could barely disguise his emotions after losing one of the two splendid Longhorn steers he had spent months training to work as draft oxen.

The award - in memory of Farmers Weekly Wales correspondent Bob Davies, of Welshpool, who died in November 2009 aged 69 - is being offered to a media personality who has raised the public profile of Welsh farming.

Henson 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, Henson has been a regular presenter on Countryfile, reporting on his own fortunes in the regular feature Adam's Farm.

FUW RAISES HUGE SUM FOR AIR AMBULANCE

[caption id="attachment_4307" align="aligncenter" width="500"]PROVEN NEED: A WAA helicopter can make a vital difference in rural locations. PROVEN NEED: A WAA helicopter can make a vital difference in rural locations.[/caption]

THE total amount - estimated to be a five-figure sum - raised by FUW members and supporters for president Gareth Vaughan's Wales Air Ambulance (WAA) chosen charity will be revealed on the union's stand at this month's Royal Welsh Smallholder and Garden Festival (May 21 and 22).

Mr Vaughan said: "The air ambulance service is a most appropriate and fully deserving cause for a national organisation representing rural areas.

"It is a registered charity, wholly dependent on public donations. The annual cost of sustaining their three air bases, which cover the whole of Wales from Caernarfon, Welshpool and Swansea airports, is over £5m and only through continued public support are they able to meet these targets.

"Due to Wales' widely scattered population and diverse landscape, there is a proven need for their helicopters to be fully operational throughout the year.

"I am well aware the Air Ambulance has been a lifesaver time and time again in all parts of rural Wales and as a representative of the farming industry I and my fellow FUW officials are proud to be associated with such a vital service."

Around half of the total sum to be handed over was raised at a promise auction arranged by deputy president Emyr Jones on his farm at Rhiwaedog, Rhosygwaliau, near Bala, which included a hog roast and entertainment. Large sums were also raised by the union's Caernarfonshire branch which held farmhouse breakfasts on members' farms throughout the county.

Mr Jones praised all those who assisted in raising such a large sum of money at his farm's event for such a worthwhile cause.

"Its success was the result of kind assistance and close co-operation of many individuals, which was very much appreciated," he said.

WAA raises all the funds it requires for the day-to-day running of missions, with each mission on average costing £1,200.

WAA is funded by the people of Wales, relying on the public support to help keep them flying. The charity does not receive direct funding from the government and because they are classed as an emergency service they also fail to qualify for National Lottery funding.

The money is therefore raised through charitable donations, fundraising events and membership of WAA's own lifesaving lottery.

Owing to the diversity of the landscape in Wales, WAA's "helimed" 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.

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.

There are two advanced life support paramedics on each aircraft trained in the latest techniques in pre-hospital emergency care ensure the patient receives the most effective treatment for his or her condition.

It is widely believed that a patient's chances of survival and early recovery are significantly increased if they receive the right care within the first hour, otherwise known as the "Golden Hour".

FUW HUSTINGS ON ANGLESEY

The Farmers' Union of Wales Anglesey county branch is holding a National Assembly election hustings meeting next Wednesday April 20 at Tafarn Y Rhos, Rhostrehwfa, Llangefni (7.30pm).

Attending will be Paul Williams (Conservative), Joe Lock (Labour), Ieuan Wyn Jones (Plaid Cymru) and Rhys Taylor (Liberal Democrats).

FUW HOLDS MORE HUSTINGS

Farmers' Union of Wales officials have organised political forums in Ceredigion and Denbighshire later this month in the lead up to the National Assembly elections on May 5.

Hustings will take place at Llannefydd Village Hall on Tuesday April 19 at 7.30pm to enable local farmers to hear candidates for the Aberconwy Constituency.

Antoinette Sandbach (Conservative), Eifion Lloyd Jones (Plaid Cymru) and Brian Cossey (Liberal Democrats) have already confirmed their intention to attend.

The union's Ceredigion county branch office has arranged a meeting for Wednesday April 27 at 8pm at Aberaeron Rugby Club.

Candidates who have already confirmed they are able to attend are Elin Jones (Plaid), Elizabeth Evans (Lib Dems), Luke Evetts (Con) and Chris Simpson (Green).

FUW ISSUES ADVICE OVER MENACING ANTI-CULL PHONE-CALLS

The Farmers' Union of Wales today advised Welsh businesses to contact the Police if they receive menacing telephone calls from anti badger-cull organisations or individuals.

A number of businesses around Wales have been contacted in the past few days and asked for details of their policy in terms of the proposed badger cull in north Pembrokeshire, and some have complained that the calls have been quite threatening and left some individuals quite shaken.

"These individuals or groups have no right to intimidate people in this way, and if people feel they have been harassed they should call the Police on the non-emergency 101 number," said FUW president Gareth Vaughan.

"Businesses should not be bullied into holding an opinion on something when they have every right to stay neutral or keep their views private.

"Attempting to bully people into holding or revealing their opinions is something which should be stood up to. It is the type of tactic used in banana republics and there is no place for this type of threatening behaviour in our democratic society.

"People have every right to approve of, oppose or remain neutral on the badger culling issue while keeping their views private.

"Given the motives behind these calls, they are no different from trying to intimidate people into revealing who they intend to vote for in an election in order to try and sway the democratic process."

Mr Vaughan also urged people to stand strong in the face of such cowardly intimidation. "No one should bow to harassment by a small number of individuals.

"Whatever individual views people hold, the people of Wales should stand up to this type of tactic and show that they will not be bullied."

The Police have advised anyone who receives such calls to make a record of as many details as possible, including the time at which the call was made, the name of the individual who called them, and the number from which the call was made - which can be obtained by dialling 1471.

This information can then be provided in confidence to the Police by dialling 101 from any landline or mobile telephone.

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/