FUW WELCOMES COMMONS FUEL DUTY FREEZE BID

A Welsh farmers' leader today welcomed Plaid Cymru and Scottish National Party MPs' decision to table an Early Day Motion in the Commons urging a freeze on fuel duty and repeating calls for the establishment of a fuel duty regulator.

Farmers' Union of Wales president Gareth Vaughan also expressed his disappointment that fuel duty was being increased yet again despite the extreme economic pressures on the agricultural industry and wider rural economy.

He is concerned that fuel duty is set to rise by 2.55p per litre in April (1% above the rate of inflation) which will cost the average family an extra £200 a year. "The rising costs of transportation are also having a profound effect on the sustainability of the agricultural industry.

"The current economic climate, coupled with high oil prices and a lack of investment in alternative fuel opportunities, has resulted in a significant increase in overheads for primary producers who cannot pass these costs up the marketing chain," he said.

"The Chancellor must freeze all fuel duty rises because they give us such an unfair playing field over many of our competitors and there is no doubt every commodity that has to be transported to the rural areas will now cost farmers much more in the future."

Mr Vaughan originally wrote to Mr Darling in September 2007 urging him to defer the fuel duty increase scheduled for October 2007 but the Chancellor went ahead with a 2ppl increase then, another 2p on April 1 2009 and a third 2p rise last September.

"The effect of Mr Darling's decisions mean that farming suffers badly because for every 2p per litre rise in fuel duty the annual operating costs of just one 44-tonne articulated lorry increases by up to £900 - inevitably leading to increased prices for animal feedstuffs, fertiliser, and all other products farmers have to purchase," said Mr Vaughan.

YOUNGER FARMERS NEEDED FOR FUW PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTRYSIDE AWARD

Nominations are being invited for the Farmers' Union of Wales Pembrokeshire branch's annual Countryside Award which aims to highlight the achievements of younger farmers in the county.

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.

The judges chose Julian because he had started and developed his business from scratch. "Also, he had chosen to move into dairy production at a very difficult time for the sector which showed a high level of determination and commitment to the industry," they added.

Inviting nominations for this year's award, FUW Pembrokeshire county chairman Dai Miles said today: "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.

"In presenting this award we hope that the dedication and determination of the younger generation of farmers in the county will be highlighted and applauded," he added.

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 be submitted by Friday 21 May 2010.

FUW SAYS GLASTIR IS A MISSED OPPORTUNITY

The Welsh Assembly Government's controversial land management scheme Glastir misses an opportunity to make a real difference to climate change, says the Farmers' Union of Wales today (Tuesday, 16 March).

"Glastir is missing the opportunity to make a real difference to climate change because it ignores the opportunities for sequestrating carbon from managed grazing and concentrates on tree planting. Such a measure is unlikely to be taken up by farmers as they would be reluctant to see agricultural land taken out of production with little gain," said the union's deputy policy director Rhian Nowell-Phillips.

"The Assembly Government is keen to promote Glastir as a land management scheme, but it has failed to 'think outside the box' to look at opportunities beyond those available under previous agri-environment schemes, which is disappointing given the emerging evidence about the contribution grazing systems can make to carbon uptake."

Ms Nowell-Phillips also expressed concern that bringing forward just one element of the targeted scheme could create even more confusion amongst farmers who are already not sure whether they will be able to access this part of the scheme.

"One of our concerns has been how difficult it will be for farmers to decide whether to go into the all-Wales element without knowing whether they will be accepted into the targeted element which is based on delivering six objectives including carbon and water storage, water quality, historic environment, biodiversity and access.

"The fact that the Minister has announced the early start of one of the elements of the scheme reinforces the FUW's view that the current timetable means that insufficient information is available to farmers who will need to indicate their interest in the scheme's ' targeted element' by ticking a box on their 2010 SAF form within the next few weeks.

"Farmers, like any other businessmen, need time to consider what is available to them under the provisions of the scheme before making a long-term business commitment.

"The FUW continues to demand a full economic impact assessment of the new scheme in view of the fact that the current Tir Mynydd scheme helped to avoid land abandonment and rural depopulation.

"Unless Glastir is made accessible and simpler there could be severe consequences for Welsh communities and environments, especially in the uplands."

The FUW also has great concern about the current timetable given the diverse problems associated with Glastir on common land and the problems that are arising with tenancy issues which are likely to preclude many farmers who may wish to access Glastir but through no fault of their own cannot meet the criteria.

"We fear it will be a complex enough process for normal farmland, but on common or tenanted land the complexities are multiplied due to the different ways in which common land is used in different areas and the types of tenancy and grazing agreements that exist in Wales."

FUW RENEWS ITS CALL FOR GLASTIR RETHINK

The Farmers' Union of Wales Grand Council, comprising of leading members from all the union's 13 county branches, has urged Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones to have a "complete rethink" of the Welsh Assembly Government's (WAG) controversial Glastir land management scheme.

At a quarterly meeting of the Grand Council in Aberystwyth, delegates passed a resolution calling for a complete rethink of the scheme and demanded WAG to deliver an easily accessible and simpler scheme, with project officer support, that is attractive to farmers and landowners.

Chairman of the FUW's land use and parliamentary committee Richard Vaughan, of Pall Mall, Tywyn, who proposed the motion, said the scheme should include support for capital works at entry level, take into account the importance of common land in Wales, and review the necessity of establishing grazing associations to implement the scheme.

Mr Vaughan added: "The current Tir Mynydd scheme's objective is to support and maintain livestock production in the less productive farming areas of Wales in order to avoid land abandonment and rural depopulation. Therefore, if Glastir is not made accessible and simpler it could have severe consequences for Welsh communities and environments especially in Wales's uplands.

"Glastir represents a seed change for farmers in Wales and it's high time that the Assembly realised that farmers need time to adapt and to be given more details about the scheme so that they can make the right business decisions."

Seconding the motion, FUW Meirionnydd county chairman Robert W Evans, of Sylfaen, Barmouth, said due to the scarcity of firm details about the current scheme making a decision on whether to sign up was like going into a restaurant without knowing what's on the menu.

FUW HAILS GLASTIR COMMONS WORKING GROUP BUT REPEATS CALLS FOR POSTPONEMENT

The Welsh Assembly Government's (WAG) decision to set up a working group to discuss and resolve issues and concerns raised by common land graziers over the introduction of the controversial Glastir land management scheme was welcomed by members of the Farmers' Union of Wales common land committee today.

"We have been calling for the establishment of this group for the past six months and raised the issue directly with the Minister on a number of occasions last year," said committee chairman Lorraine Howells. "We were, therefore, pleased when, in early January, WAG officials confirmed that this group would be set up.

"The first meeting was held on 17 February, and further meetings will be held on a monthly basis."

Miss Howells is a member of the Glastir Commons Working Group along with FUW policy director Dr Nick Fenwick and chairman of the union's hill farming committee Derek Morgan.

She told today's meeting: "We have been lobbying the Assembly regarding the particular problems associated with common land and Glastir and asking them to set this group up since last summer, so it is good that it is finally off the ground."

However, the committee was unanimous in expressing concern regarding the current timetable given the diverse problems associated with Glastir on common land, and reiterated calls for the scheme's implementation date to be postponed for 12 months.

"Almost 18 per cent of Welsh farms have common land, and this is therefore of critical importance to Welsh agriculture, especially in those areas where common land makes up the majority of farmland.

"Everything must be done to make Glastir accessible to as many commoners throughout Wales as possible but this will take time. The transition from LFA payments, in the form of Tir Mynydd, to the Glastir agri-environmental scheme means a massive escalation in eligibility and compliance criteria.

"This will be a complex enough process for normal farmland, but on common land the complexities are multiplied due to the different ways in which common land is used in different areas, and the diverse range of habitats that exist on Welsh commons.

"Tir Mynydd and its predecessors have helped stem rural depopulation and maintain livestock for decades. If we do not get Glastir right for common land it will have severe consequences for Welsh communities and environments, and accelerate the abandonment of the ancient hefting systems that have defined much of Wales's uplands."

GROCERY OMBUDSMAN VOTE IS MAJOR PROGRESS, SAYS FUW

Ynys Môn (Anglesey) MP Albert Owen's Private Member's Bill calling for the appointment of a Grocery Market Ombudsman has made major progress towards becoming law, Farmers' Union of Wales vice president Eifion Huws said today.

"The Bill, which enjoys cross-party support, needed 35 MPs to vote for it during its second reading in the Commons this morning and I am very pleased that it received 44 votes with none in opposition," said Mr Huws, a dairy farmer on Anglesey.

"By clearing this hurdle the Bill has made major progress to becoming law and we strongly hope the big supermarkets will not play for time and try to reduce the powers of the proposed Ombudsman as it passes through parliament.

"The Bill will now be referred to a standing committee and will need continued Government support to proceed further. The FUW will continue to give Mr Owen its enthusiastic backing and we sincerely hope his fellow Labour MPs will also give him their full support.

"The FUW has vigorously backed Mr Owen's campaign to create greater choice and quality for consumers while providing a fair deal to supermarket suppliers and I was delighted to travel to Westminster this week, together with the union's Anglesey county chairman, vice chairman and executive officer, to show our total support for his efforts.

"His Bill will enable the Government to implement the Competition Commission's recommendation for the creation of a new independent arbiter with the power to settle disputes between major retailers and their suppliers and to investigate possible breaches of the recently introduced Groceries Code of Practice.

"Both the Government and the Opposition have already indicated their support for the principle of an Ombudsman. Today's vote is a major step forward towards fairness for consumers above all but also for suppliers."

FUW WELCOMES ASSEMBLY REPORT ON CLIMATE CHANGE

A suggestion that dairy cows and some beef cattle be permanently housed so the methane gas they produce can be captured is only a small part of a proposed new strategy on how agriculture and rural land use in Wales can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Farmers' Union of Wales.

The union's deputy director of policy Rhian Nowell-Phillips said the report, presented by the Land Use Climate Change Group to Assembly rural affairs minister Elin Jones, contained a range of data, evidence and possible scenarios which would help inform the debate on future policy decisions.

"We may not believe that everything in it will, or should, happen but for once it does challenge some of the current assumptions that livestock production will have to be drastically reduced in Wales if the Assembly wants to mitigate methane production," she said.

"Food security will be an amazing motivator in the future and I have no doubt there will be a desire to balance the need for increased food production with ways to capture and reuse greenhouse gases.

"In the meantime, some of the practical aspects of the report could help start processes to help farmers identify the win wins for them in starting to mitigate climate change. For example, the use of feed additives to reduce methane, or the reuse of agricultural by-products such as biogas, heat and water, could help reduce fixed costs."

FUW DEMANDS IMPROVED RURAL SERVICES

The Wales Rural Observatory's report on "Deep Rural Localities" and many of the comments at the Assembly's debate on its findings yesterday are similar to concerns often expressed by the Farmers' Union of Wales.

The union's president Gareth Vaughan said today: "Many of the conclusions of the Wales Rural Observatory report are in line with the union's ongoing concerns, highlighted over several years, and we are not surprised that they support our standpoint on such issues.

"We have regularly called for planning changes to allow for more affordable housing in a bid to stem the migration of young people from rural areas. Increased public transport provision and improved broadband and mobile phone coverage are also a crucial necessity for those living and working in Wales' numerous isolated communities.

"These services are no longer merely desirable for rural dwellers - they are vital in enabling rural businesses to survive in these modern times. Farmers are increasingly required to access the internet to comply with new legislation affecting their livelihoods and traditional way of life and the FUW has long campaigned for reliable broadband and mobile phone reception to be widely extended.

"Meanwhile, rural dwellers have to face up to higher council taxes than urban areas, increasing their cost of living, yet still experience repeated cuts in vital services."

FUW GROUP BACKS LOCAL MP OVER SUPERMARKET OMBUDSMAN BID IN PARLIAMENT

A delegation of Farmers' Union of Wales officers and members will attend a parliamentary reception at Westminster tomorrow (4 March) to underline the union's support for a Supermarket Ombudsman.

Led by FUW vice president, Anglesey dairy farmer Eifion Huws, the delegation was invited by the island's MP Albert Owen to the reception, co-hosted by Grocery Market Action Group (GMAG) chairman Andrew George MP, on the eve of the second reading of Mr Owen's Private Members' Bill calling for an Ombudsman.

"The principle of having an Ombudsman now has the backing of all the main political parties who, like the FUW, recognise it is vital in order to enforce the Grocery Supply Code of Practice introduced by the Competition Commission last month," said Mr Huws.

"The union believes the code goes part of the way towards breaking the arm-lock supermarkets have over their suppliers by providing retailers with clear guidelines for dealing fairly with suppliers. It also strengthens the union's demands for the Government to take further prompt action and appoint an independent ombudsman with real teeth to ensure supermarkets adhere to the guidelines.

"It is only then that we can be confident that the supermarkets' arm-lock has been broken once and for all - almost nine years since Tony Blair told farmers the supermarkets had an arm-lock on us and promised it was something 'we have got to sit down with them and work out'.

"Mr Owen's Bill will enable the Government to implement the Competition Commission's recommendation for the creation of a new independent arbiter with the power to settle disputes between major retailers and their suppliers.

"It has received wide cross-party support and was sponsored by MPs from Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the SDLP. It has also been warmly welcomed by the FUW and a number of significant charities, consumer organisations and business groups."

Nearly six years ago the FUW joined 16 other farming, consumer, development and environmental organisations to form the Breaking the Armlock Alliance and demand stricter controls over the major supermarkets' trading practices, particularly to stop them passing on unreasonable costs and demands to farmers and growers in the UK and overseas.

The alliance - which also includes ActionAid, Banana Link, British Independent Fruit Growers Association, farm, Farmers for Action, Farmers' Link, Friends of the Earth, Grassroots Action on Food and Farming, International Institute for Environment and Development, National Federation of Women's Institutes, National Sheep Association, New Economics Foundation, Pesticide Action Network UK, Soil Association, Small and Family Farms Alliance and WyeCycle - launched its campaign at a parliamentary briefing hosted by Andrew George on 16 March 2004.

But as far back as back as 2000, a Competition Commission report acknowledged the biggest supermarkets were bullying their suppliers and since then mergers and buy-outs have tipped the power balance even further in favour of the retail giants.

In May 2006, following public pressure, the Office of Fair Trading referred the UK grocery retail market for a fresh market investigation by the Competition Commission which completed its inquiry and published its final report in April 2008.

It found supermarkets guilty of transferring unnecessary risks and excessive costs onto their suppliers. In its proposed remedies the commission recommended a new Grocery Supply Code of Practice - to replace the previously discredited Supermarket Code of Practice - and the establishment of an ombudsman to police the new code.

Mr Huws said: "We believe suppliers are forced to bear much of the costs when supermarkets decide to launch price wars. Consumers are happy to see prices fall, and I'm sure that most believe that it is the supermarkets that take a cut in their own profits on individual items to try and win a greater market share.

"But I don't think they would be so happy if they realised that it is the farmers and suppliers further down the chain that have their profit margins squeezed to allow the supermarkets to make even bigger profits, threatening future food security issues."

FUW URGES MEMBERS TO GIVE GLASTIR FEEDBACK

Welsh farmers are being encouraged by the Farmers' Union of Wales to provide feedback about the scoring system the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) has set to gain access to its new Glastir land management scheme.

WAG has just published the documentation for the All Wales Element of the scheme - including the scorecard and guidance, Whole Farm Code and the All Wales Element Options - which can be found on the FUW's website at www.fuw.org.uk

The Scorecard has been developed as a guide to assist farmers in selecting the options available to them to complete on the farm. It will also determine the threshold number of points required to access Glastir based on the size of the farm and whether it is part of the Organic Scheme.

Once the chosen options which the farmer wants to or is able to complete have been added, the Scorecard will determine if the farm has accrued sufficient points to enter Glastir.

"The union is encouraging all its members to have a go at completing the Scorecard to ascertain how accessible Glastir actually is to farmers. We are also encouraging them to feed the results back to their county office," said FUW land use and parliamentary committee chairman Richard Vaughan.

"The feedback is vitally important to the union so that it can understand whether particular sectors are having difficulty in earning sufficient points to enter the scheme.

"This information can then be used as evidence to the Welsh Assembly Government on the accessibility of the scheme to its members."

FUW WEBSITE TO EASE FARM WASTE HEADACHES

The Farmers' Union of Wales has linked up with Environment Agency Wales to help Welsh farmers manage their agricultural waste better.

Recent research suggests Welsh farmers need more assistance with the problems of dealing with farm waste and a useful learning tool is now available in Welsh and English by clicking on the "Farm Waste No Bull" link on the FUW's website: www.fuw.org.uk

FUW president Gareth Vaughan said a recent "SME-nvironment" report by environmental guidance website NetRegs.gov.uk reveals the problem is farmers' recognition of specific waste regulations rather than compliance.

"The Hazardous Waste and Duty of Care regulations were both found to be misunderstood by farmers," he added. "Many had not heard of these regulations (Hazardous Waste 27 per cent and Duty of Care 27 per cent), meaning that they aren't taking advantage of specific support available to help them meet these rules.

"The research also reveals that while a third of farmers store agricultural waste on site, many do not recognise the important legislation which determines what can be stored, for how long and where permits are required. This research points to a need for clearer communication and support for farmers in recognising and so managing waste regulations."

The Environment Agency's NetRegs website is also seeking to clear up the confusion with its relaunched Learning about Agricultural Waste tool at: www.netregs.gov.uk/farmwaste

It provides the farming community with seven simple subjects for battling waste - including guidance on Hazardous Waste, Duty of Care and on-site storage and transport. It also details legislation specific to Wales.

Environment Agency in Wales land quality policy and strategy manager Simon Neale said: "Farmers' resources are stretched, particularly in the current climate, but we know that investing in environmental compliance can save rather than cost money.

"The good news for farmers is that the NetRegs' report reveals many in the agricultural community are already seeing the financial rewards of more effective waste management, through reduced operating costs and a more motivated workforce.

"We talked to farmers on the ground to find out what they would find helpful and our Waste Tool has been developed based on their feedback. The result is a single online access point to all the necessary information on waste legislation and we hope it's going to really help farmers."

ASSEMBLY GROUP TOLD GLASTIR SCHEME MUST BE DELAYED

The Farmers' Union of Wales has told Welsh Assembly Rural Development Sub-Committee members that the implementation date of the new Glastir land management scheme should be delayed by 12 months and the schemes it replaces should be extended for the same period.

The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) intends replacing Tir Mynydd, Tir Gofal, Tir Cynnal and the Organic scheme with the Glastir all-Wales land management scheme later this year.

But during an evidence-gathering session at Dolgellau, the chairman of the FUW's Land Use and Parliamentary Committee Richard Vaughan told the Rural Development Sub-Committee farmers had not been given enough time to consider the implications of Glastir on their businesses before the application window opens.

"Feedback from farmers who have participated in the pilot scheme suggests that Glastir is not as easy to enter as is being suggested by the WAG," said Mr Vaughan.

"The FUW believe that the scheme needs to be fully piloted before being rolled out and we have already made representations to the rural affairs minister Elin Jones to defer its implementation.

"The scheme should not be rushed out to meet an Assembly Government timetable which may result in the need for its early review if farmers don't enter the scheme.

"We do not see why the scheme is being rushed through and we have pressed home the fact that it should be deferred so that it can be put together with thought and utilising the practical experience of the unions to ensure it is workable and realistic.

Mr Vaughan added that the FUW doubts whether the Assembly's divisional offices will be able to cope with farmers' applications and interviews in 2010 and believes WAG has severely underestimated the ability and knowledge required by farmers to develop their own plans by the time they go to interview.

FUW OPTS FOR TWO-TIER DAIRY FUND DISTRIBUTION

Farmers' Union of Wales members have given their overwhelming support for an EU dairy fund distribution that favours smaller dairy producers.

The EU agreed in December 2009 to allocate €300m to help the European dairy sector which has been severely affected by low milk prices. Wales's share is believed to be around £3m.

Following a meeting of the FUW's milk and dairy produce committee in Aberystwyth, chairman Eifion Huws said: "The consultation was considered by the FUW's 12 county branches and by the union's milk and dairy produce committee.

"The overwhelming majority of members agreed that Wales should opt for a payment of 0.5 pence per litre (ppl) on the first 100,000 litres of production plus an estimated payment of 0.15ppl on production over 100,000 litres. This would target smaller businesses which, on average, have a lower profitability per litre.

"Members acknowledged the fact that all dairy producers had suffered as a result of low farmgate prices and high production costs, and that the profitability per litre was highly variable between farms.

"However, it was agreed that, on average, smaller producers had higher production costs and were, by definition, unable to benefit from production bonuses and other production related advantages.

"We are hardly talking about large sums of money here but the fund will, nevertheless, provide some relief for struggling dairy producers, and the union is firmly in favour of directing support where it is most needed."

CAERNARFONSHIRE FARMERS RAISE ISSUES WITH RURAL MINISTER AND LOCAL MP

The Westminster government's decision to scrap rules allowing holiday accommodation owners to claim certain tax benefits was strongly criticised when a Farmers' Union of Wales delegation from Caernarfonshire met their local MP and the Welsh rural affairs minister.

MP Hywel Williams and the Assembly minister Elin Jones discussed various issues with the delegation during a visit to the Betws Garmon farm of Dewi and Bethan Roberts to see how a young farming couple with three daughters had invested heavily to create holiday accommodation sleeping nine at the farmhouse and a further seven in a nearby workshop.

Benefiting from Wales Tourist Board funding, they also installed a hot tub to offer visitors something different to the usual holiday accommodation.

But their decision to complete the work this year - in a bid to secure exemption from the Chancellor's decision to repeal the Furnished Holiday Lettings (FHL) rules - has resulted in cashflow consequences.

The FUW delegation included the county's representative on the union's farm diversification committee, farmer's wife Anwen Jones, who lets out four holiday cottages at Bettws Bach farm, Rhoslan, near Criccieth, and has already raised the issue with Meirionnydd Nant Conwy MP Elfyn Llwyd.

"We again explained to Mr Williams and the minister how the scrapping of these taxation benefits will seriously affect the income of many FUW members who have diversified into letting out holiday accommodation," said the union's Caernarfonshire county executive officer Gwynedd Watkin.

"We repeated our previous demands on the Chancellor to change his decision, announced in last April's Budget, to scrap the rules which allow losses from FHLs to be offset against other income."

Mr Watkin said the delegation also demanded a curb on harsh cross-compliance penalties recently handed out to farmers which were often disproportionate to the "crime" - especially when a genuine mistake, with no financial gain, had occurred.

"We presented the minister and Mr Williams with a number of cases where farmers had been 'fined', ranging from £1,500 for a basic administrative error to over £90,000 for a planning issue involving 'possible' damage to an ancient monument.

"In the latter case, if the farmer had not been claiming subsidies, the maximum he could be fined by a court is £40,000. It is not right for farmers to be disproportionately penalised so heavily."

The delegation also discussed issues concerning the forthcoming Glastir all-Wales agri-environmental scheme. "Many frustrations were vented with regard to the lack of detailed information about the qualifying criteria and the minister assured us that more information will be forthcoming in the future," Mr Watkin added.

FUW WELCOMES WAG EXTENSION OF SUPPLEMENTARY FEEDING RELAXATION

THE Farmers' Union of Wales today welcomed the Welsh Assembly Government's decision to extend the relaxation of rules on supplementary feeding to 28 February 2010.

Reacting to the news, FUW president Gareth Vaughan said: "I am glad that the government has listened to our calls and that common sense has prevailed.

"The significantly colder winter has brought with it animal welfare concerns for livestock farmers.

"With more freezing weather expected this announcement couldn't have come at a better time as it will allow farmers to give additional feed to their livestock during this cold period without risking unfair penalties."

On 15 January 2010 livestock farmers were advised by WAG that they would be able to give their livestock additional feed to help maintain animal welfare during the period of cold weather.

It was announced at that time that the relaxation rules would remain in force until 31 January 2010 unless severe weather conditions persist but due to the prolonged severe weather conditions the relaxation of the supplementary rules has now been extended until 28 February 2010.

Farmers seeking further information should contact their local Divisional Office.

FUW URGES EXTRA FUNDING FOR IBERS TO PREVENT JOB LOSSES

The Farmers' Union of Wales today called on the Westminster and Assembly Governments to provide extra funding urgently for Aberystwyth University's world-class Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) in a bid to prevent it shedding 70 jobs.

The university announced the proposed job losses at a private staff meeting today and revealed IBERS faces a £2.4m deficit over the next two years.

"We believe that there is a strong argument for the Welsh Assembly Government and central Government to step in and provide funds to meet the expected deficit that has led to the imminent loss of these well-paid jobs," said FUW president Gareth Vaughan.

"Over the years spending on scientific research has been scaled down and now is the time that we should be seeing an increase in funding for the type of work being carried out at IBERS, given the importance of agriculture in terms of climate change and feeding the world.

"The work undertaken out at IBERS is within that fundamentally important research area that will affect all our lives in the near future."

FUW WELCOMES NEW GROCERY CODE BUT REPEATS PLEA FOR SUPERMARKET OMBUDSMAN

The new Grocery Suppliers Code of Practice just introduced by the Competition Commission has only gone part of the way towards breaking the arm-lock supermarkets have over their suppliers, a Welsh farmers' leader said today (5 February).

Farmers' Union of Wales president Gareth Vaughan welcomed the code which was introduced yesterday. "It should provide retailers with clear guidelines for dealing fairly with suppliers.

"But it also serves to strengthen the union's demands for the Government to take further prompt action and appoint an independent ombudsman with real teeth to make sure the supermarkets adhere to the guidelines.

"It is only then that we can be confident that their arm-lock has been broken once and for all. It's almost nine years since Tony Blair told farmers the supermarkets had an arm-lock on us and promised it was something 'we have got to sit down with them and work out'.

"However, recently reported actions of some supermarkets that have made the most unreasonable demands for retrospective payments and changes to trading terms illustrate that we still have some way to go to solve this big issue."

Meanwhile, the FUW is strongly supporting Ynys Môn's (Anglesey) Labour MP Albert Owen's Private Member's Bill, to be debated in the Commons on 5 March, which will provide the perfect opportunity to appoint a Supermarket Ombudsman, said Mr Vaughan.

"Mr Owen's Grocery Market Ombudsman Bill will enable the Government to implement the Competition Commission's recommendation for the creation of a new independent arbiter with the power to settle disputes between major retailers and their suppliers.

"The Bill has received wide cross-party support and was sponsored by MPs from Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the SDLP. It has also been warmly welcomed by the FUW and a number of significant charities, consumer organisations and business groups."

Nearly six years ago the FUW joined 16 other farming, consumer, development and environmental organisations to form the Breaking the Armlock Alliance and demand stricter controls over the major supermarkets' trading practices, particularly to stop them passing on unreasonable costs and demands to farmers and growers in the UK and overseas.

The alliance - which also includes ActionAid, Banana Link, British Independent Fruit Growers Association, farm, Farmers for Action, Farmers' Link, Friends of the Earth, Grassroots Action on Food and Farming, International Institute for Environment and Development, National Federation of Women's Institutes, National Sheep Association, New Economics Foundation, Pesticide Action Network UK, Soil Association, Small and Family Farms Alliance and WyeCycle - launched its campaign at a parliamentary briefing hosted by Andrew George MP on the 16 March 2004.

"But as far back as back as 2000, a Competition Commission report acknowledged the biggest supermarkets were bullying their suppliers and since then mergers and buy-outs have tipped the power balance even further in favour of the retail giants," said Mr Vaughan.

In May 2006, following public pressure, the Office of Fair Trading referred the UK grocery retail market for a fresh market investigation by the Competition Commission which completed its inquiry and published its final report in April 2008.

It found supermarkets guilty of transferring unnecessary risks and excessive costs onto their suppliers. In its proposed remedies the commission recommended a new Grocery Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP) - to replace the previously discredited Supermarket Code of Practice - and the establishment of an ombudsman to police the new code.

Mr Vaughan said: "Our experience has shown that it is the supplier who has to bear much of the costs when supermarkets decide to launch price wars. Consumers are no doubt happy to see prices fall, and I am sure that most believe that it is the supermarkets that take a cut in their own profits on individual items to try and win a greater market share.

"But I don't think they would be so happy if they realised that it is the farmers and suppliers further down the chain that have their profit margins squeezed to allow the supermarkets to make even bigger profits, threatening future food security issues."

NORTH WALES FARMERS RAISE CONCERNS WITH MEPS

A five-man delegation of Farmers' Union of Wales members from North Wales took the opportunity on a recent visit to the EU Parliament headquarters in Brussels to raise numerous issues concerning the farming industry with all four Welsh MEPs.

The delegation - vice presidents Glyn Roberts and Eifion Huws and the union's Caernarfonshire county chairman Morgan Jones-Parry, vice chairman Dewi Roberts and executive officer Gwynedd Watkin - all called for the retention of milk quotas and the historic basis for Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments.

In separate meetings with MEPs Kay Swinburne (Con), Jill Evans (Plaid), Derek Vaughan (Lab) and John Bufton (UKIP), the delegation also demanded a curb on cross-compliance penalties which, they stressed, were often disproportionate to the "crime" - especially when a genuine mistake, with no financial gain, had occurred.

Earlier, the delegation attended a Welsh farmhouse breakfast in the Parliament building, hosted by Dr Swinburne, where a cross-party group of MEPs from all parts of the UK and senior EU officials were treated to a hearty breakfast of Gwendraeth Valley bacon, sausages from Welshpool butcher John Langford, Caws Cenarth's Perl Wen and Caerphilly cheeses, and yoghurt from Rachel's Dairy.

Mr Roberts told the gathering that around 1,500 functions were held in the UK to celebrate the annual Farmhouse Breakfast Week but the FUW's event in Brussels was the only one held overseas.

"Our president and senior policy staff were here over a month ago and the FUW fully appreciates the hugely important role the EU Parliament now plays in agriculture ion Wales. We want to work with you - we want to meet with you regularly," he said.

Dr Swinburne said she was delighted to meet the FUW delegation who took the opportunity to lobby for the interests of Welsh farming and promote quality, fresh Welsh produce."

Speaking after the breakfast, Mrs Evans said: "It was a good opportunity to show off the excellence of Welsh farm produce to EU law makers and officials.

"It also gave us a chance to discuss a wide range of issues that are of concern to Welsh farming such as milk quotas, CAP reform, food labelling and climate change.

"The Common Agricultural Policy is being reviewed so it's more important than ever to make sure the voice of Welsh farming is heard in Brussels."

FUW RAISES SMOKIES ISSUE IN BRUSSELS

The Farmers' Union of Wales today welcomed the Food Standards Agency's move to push for a change in European Union (EU) law to allow production of smoked skin-on sheep meat - commonly known as "smokies" - for human consumption.

Representatives from the FUW currently out in Brussels today discussed the FSA's recommendations with all four Welsh MEPs and have urged them to support the action taken by the FSA board.

Research by the FSA and representatives of the UK meat industry have indicated that it is possible to produce such meat safely and hygienically in approved slaughterhouses.

"The FUW has long campaigned against the illegal trade in smokies, and was one of the first organisations to push for FSA research into making their production legal," said the union's president Gareth Vaughan.

"We have been well aware for several years that there is a demand for this type of skin-on-meat amongst certain communities, but we remain concerned that until now the only way this demand can be met is via illegal means.

"The manner in which this meat is currently produced in unlicensed and unhygienic conditions not only puts the health of the customer at risk but also does farmers no favours.

"So we welcome this latest news and if the EU agrees, then skin-on-meat could soon be produced under clean conditions in licensed abattoirs and sold openly to those customers who want this type of meat.

"It will be good news for Welsh sheep farmers, who will have the opportunity to add value to their older sheep as a new market place opens up for them," said Mr Vaughan.

Last year research undertaken by Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales indicated that the legal production of "smokies" could be worth more than £3m to the Welsh red meat industry.

"I hope the European Commission will look favourably on the results of the research and give the go-ahead for the legal production of smokies at the earliest opportunity," he added.

The FSA board will now seek clearance from Ministers to make an approach to the EU to allow for the legal production of smoked skin-on sheep.

FUW ISSUES ARSON WARNING

The Farmers' Union of Wales today warned farmers in Gwynedd to be vigilant after two suspicious fires in one week badly damaged farm buildings and equipment some 10 miles apart at Pencaenewydd and Llaniestyn on the Lleyn peninsula.

North Wales Police and the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service are investigating and the FUW urged farmers to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious.

"This is a cause for concern for a great number of farmers in the area," said FUW Gwynedd county executive officer Gwynedd Watkin.

"Farms, because of the nature of the industry, have been expanding, and there are also fewer people around in rural areas to keep an eye on what is going on," he said.

Mr Watkin said that because the farm house was often a distance from farm buildings it made them "easy targets" for anyone intent on causing damage.

He said the fires had not been confirmed as definitely deliberate, but there was nothing - such as electricity - in either of the two sheds which could have started a fire.

Mr Watkin added he was hopeful the situation could be sorted out soon. "This is a massive loss for the farmers, even though the insurance should reimburse them.

"I cannot put enough emphasis on how important it is that everyone keeps an eye out and reports anything suspicious to the police," he added.

FUW Insurance representative Irfon Hughes said the fires highlighted how important it is to keep all paper work up to date.

He said that location made it difficult for people to find their way around, and it was possible that anyone responsible would be familiar with the area.

"I've been working on the Lleyn for two years, and it has taken me that long to get to know all the little lanes in the area," he said.

He warned too that it was only a matter of chance that no livestock was lost during the recent incidents, as a shed of calves were saved just before the fire spread.

FUW BOOSTS BID TO EXPORT WELSH LAMB TO CHINA

A bid to put Welsh Lamb on the menu in China could take a step closer following a function organised by the Farmers' Union of Wales at the House of Lords tomorrow (Wednesday, 20 January).

A top-table guest at the union's annual lunch to celebrate the Home Grown Cereals Authority's Farmhouse Breakfast Week will be Zhou Xiaoming, Minister Counsellor of Economic and Commercial Office of the UK's Chinese Embassy, who is in charge of all trade and investment issues between China and the UK including agriculture.

The function is being hosted by Lord Livsey of Talgarth, the former Liberal Democrat MP for Brecon and Radnor whose successor to represent the constituency Roger Williams, currently Lib Dem Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, led a delegation to the Chinese Embassy in London two years ago to promote Welsh Lamb.

Although Mr Williams doesn't run his Breconshire farm himself anymore, he is still responsible for a flock of 600 ewes and 60 beef suckler cows. He will also be on the top table at the lunch - one of three FUW functions to herald Farmhouse Breakfast Week (24-30 January).

The other two are traditional Welsh breakfasts at the National Assembly's Senedd building in Cardiff Bay today (Tuesday, 19 January), where rural affairs minister Elin Jones is the main speaker, and at the European Union headquarters in Brussels next week (Wednesday, 27 January) when an FUW delegation will meet Welsh MEPs.

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

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

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

"Over the past few decades, consumption of meat in developing countries has grown at a rate of five to six per cent a year and is growing 10 times faster in newly industrialised countries. This is a trend that will continue as China's economy carries on growing and one that should create a nation that has more disposable income.

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

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

Another top-table guest at the Lords function, Hybu Cig Cymru-Meat Promotion Wales chairman Rees Roberts, said: "Welsh Lamb is big business overseas, with one in three lambs destined for export.

"Europe has traditionally been our largest overseas market, and continues to be so, but Welsh Lamb has an enviable reputation as a quality brand, leading to new markets opening up across the world.

"One of those markets is China. There is already demand for Welsh Lamb in the restaurants of Hong Kong and HCC is working on ways to make our produce available in mainland China. Meanwhile, we are continuing our marketing efforts in other parts of the Far and Middle East, including Singapore and Dubai."

Another speaker at the Lords lunch will be Andrew Denham, chairman of the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.

FUW president Gareth Vaughan said: "In 2008 RABI gave out some £318,000 to beneficiaries, both working and retired in Wales. As well as regular quarterly grants it helped with specialist items such as mobility scooters, riser recliners and stair lifts.

"For working farming families, help has been given for domestic bills, where there has been illness within the family or TB in the herd, and help towards farm worker costs where the farmer has been incapacitated due to injury or illness. Income for 2008 from Wales, where RABI has 223 of its total of 1,434 retired long-term beneficiaries, was some £92,000."

FUW's Caernarfonshire office has organised the following farmhouse breakfasts at members' farms and Bryncir Market in support of the Home Grown Cereals Authority's Farmhouse Breakfast Week (24-30 January) - Ty'n Hendre, Talybont, Bangor (on Monday, 25 January); Bodnitho Farm, Botwnnog (Wednesday, 27 January); Fferm Llwyndyrys, Llwyndyrys (Thursday, 28 January); Dylasau Uchaf, Padog, Betws-y-Coed; Gwern, Saron, Llanwnda; and Bryncir Market (all on Friday, 29 January).

Everyone is welcome and to book your place at the table contact FUW county executive officer Gwynedd Watkin or Gwenda Williams on 01286 672 541. The cost is £10 per person and all proceeds will be shared between the FUW president's charity, Wales Air Ambulance, and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year.

FUW LEADER URGES CHANCELLOR TO SLASH FUEL DUTY

Farmers' Union of Wales president Gareth Vaughan today repeated previous pleas to the Chancellor to slash fuel tax and introduce a fairer vehicle taxation system after numerous 4x4 vehicles had provided a lifeline to people living in the countryside during the current icy weather conditions.

"The treacherous Arctic weather conditions prevailing during the past fortnight have clearly illustrated how essential and important 4x4 vehicles have been. Without them whole areas of the countryside would have been no-go areas," said Mr Vaughan.

"I am taking this opportunity to urge the government once again to review its tax position on some types of non-luxury, work-horse types of 4x4s. They should no longer be described as 'Chelsea tractors' because time and time again they have provided a lifeline for fully stretched rural areas during severe weather conditions including flooding."

Mr Vaughan has already written to Mr Darling and his predecessors on numerous occasions regarding the impact fuel duty and vehicle taxation has on the viability of Welsh rural businesses and has regularly highlighted the necessity for an equitable system that reflects the unique needs of rural Wales.

"Welsh farmers and many other rural businesses are heavily reliant on 4x4s due to Wales' geography and topology, meaning that successive hikes in the taxation classes of such vehicles have a disproportionate impact on rural families and businesses.

"In view of the acute and growing pressure fuel price increases represent for rural businesses, not to mention businesses across the UK, I believe that we have reached a critical point at which action must be taken by the Chancellor to significantly reduce fuel tax in order to aid the economy.

"I also believe that an equitable vehicle taxation system must be introduced that recognises the stark differences between those who choose to drive 4x4s and those who do so out of necessity."

Support for the FUW's campaign arrived earlier this week when the Association of British Drivers (ABD) stressed the recent wet summers and snowy winters - that the Met Office's "global warming alarmists failed to predict" - had once again demonstrated the usefulness of owning a 4x4.

ABD stressed the extra traction can be a life saver in the dry, wet, mud or snow and on un-gritted roads but 4x4s had been attacked by so-called "environmentalists" using exaggeration, myths, "direct action" and punitive vehicle excise duty rates imposed by "our tax-hungry, anti-car government".

ABD environment spokesman Paul Biggs bought a Honda CR-V "soft-roader" in 2006 following the association's "Freezelock" prediction of severe winter conditions. "It has proved to be invaluable in summer floods due to its higher ground clearance and the extra traction certainly helps in snow or ice.

"I can also tow my touring caravan safe in the knowledge that I'm less likely to get stuck on muddy fields. For me, it's an ideal, roomy, safe, multi-purpose family vehicle.

"With potentially colder winters predicted for the next 20 to 30 years unjustifiably demonised 4x4 owners may yet have the last laugh on global warming alarmists and anti-car campaigners."

Mr Vaughan added: "Mr Biggs' experience proves that 4x4s are not for show and in the countryside they are absolutely essential. Owners should not be penalised for using their common sense and opting for such vehicles which have really proven their worth in the current cold snap."

FUW SAYS SUPERMARKET OMBUDSMAN LEGISLATION SUPPORT IS A STEP FORWARD

The Farmers' Union of Wales today described its 10-year campaign for legislation to ensure supermarkets provide a fair deal for all their suppliers, including farmers, as a step nearer after the UK Government accepted the need to set up a Supermarket Ombudsman.

"Of course we welcome the Consumer Minister's announcement today that he has accepted the Competition Commission's recommendation for a body to enforce the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP)," said FUW president Gareth Vaughan.

The code will come into force on 4 February and will be quickly followed by a consultation on how best to enforce it, including who that body might be and the powers it could have.

"Meanwhile, we are also supporting Anglesey MP Albert Owen's Private Member's Bill, introduced in Parliament last month, which will provide the perfect opportunity to appoint a Supermarket Ombudsman," said Mr Vaughan.

"Mr Owen's Grocery Market Ombudsman Bill will enable the Government to implement the Competition Commission's recommendation for the creation of a new independent arbiter with the power to settle disputes between major retailers and their suppliers.

"The Bill has received wide cross-party support and was sponsored by MPs from Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the SDLP. It has also been warmly welcomed by the FUW and a number of significant charities, consumer organisations and business groups.

"The FUW has repeatedly expressed major concerns regarding the dominance of major retailers over supply chains and believes there is significant evidence to suggest that such dominance has in many cases been abused to the detriment of suppliers and local economies.

"We have, therefore, campaigned for an enforceable and robust supermarket Code of Conduct and the introduction of a supply chain ombudsman for the past decade and have, on numerous occasions, provided evidence supporting these calls to the Competition Commission and Office of Fair Trading.

"We welcomed last year's recommendations by the Competition Commission and believe that Mr Owen's Bill provides an ideal opportunity to take these forward. Therefore, we hope the cross-party support which already exists for the Bill will increase and ultimately result in an Act which addresses many of the concerns we have about unfair practices by supermarkets.

"Over the past three decades the proportion of food sold by supermarkets, rather than private outlets, has risen to around 75%, with the largest four supermarket chains controlling over 70% of sales. Competition Commission figures show that 65% of milk, 85% of beef, and 90% of lamb is sold through the multiple food retailers, with buying power being concentrated among a few companies.

"The power currently wielded by the major retailers represents a major challenge, not only for primary producers, but for the food sector in general.

"For this reason, the FUW has long argued that Government should take action to redress what is currently an imbalance between the powers held by primary producers, processors, and retailers, and that the first step towards doing this should be the appointment of a Supermarket Ombudsman responsible for enforcing a strict Code of Conduct."

MEIRIONNYDD FARMERS TO DISCUSS FUTURE OF FARMING

An opportunity for Meirionnydd farmers to consider the future of their industry will be provided during the Farmers' Union of Wales' Meirionnydd county branch annual general meeting at the Ship Hotel, Dolgellau, on Friday 29 January at 7.30pm.

"We are fortunate this year to have the following speakers - Isabel Owen, head of the Caernarfon Divisional Office, Welsh Assembly Government; Sion Aron Jones, Hybu Cig Cymru industry development manager; and Emyr Williams, director of land management, Snowdonia National Park," said FUW's county executive officer Huw Jones.

"The theme for the meeting is 'Food, the environment and farm support - what is the future?'. This will be an opportunity, therefore, for us to consider the future direction of the industry.

"I will also be presenting a short report of the union's activities during 2009 at the start of the meeting. I am expecting a strong representation of members from all parts of the county."

FUW WELCOMES FINAL SEAL OF APPROVAL FOR BADGER CULL

The Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW) has welcomed Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones's confirmation today that the Welsh Assembly Government intends to proceed with a badger cull to combat bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) in Wales.

The decision to cull badgers in a limited Intensive Action Pilot Area (IAPA) in west Wales, which has already received overwhelming cross-party support from members of the National Assembly for Wales during plenary votes, marks the final Ministerial decision regarding the matter - notwithstanding the outcome of a legal challenge by the Badger Trust.

Welcoming the decision, FUW bTB spokesman Brian Walters, a Carmarthenshire organic dairy producer, said: "This final Ministerial decision marks an important step towards reducing bTB incidences in an area that has one of the highest rates of the disease in Europe.

"The work undertaken and commissioned by the Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer shows that this decision is the right one, and the only one likely to result in significant falls in bTB incidences in an areas where badgers have been shown to have high levels of infection.

"It is supported by the science, and has therefore received the support of the Welsh Assembly Government and the overwhelming majority of Assembly Members from all political parties. However, it should not be forgotten that it is just one part of a host of measures being undertaken to combat bTB in Wales."

Mr Walters also expressed his concern that a legal challenge by the Badger Trust should not derail the Welsh bTB Eradication Programme. "It has taken a great deal of work to get to this position, but as time marches on the epidemic continues to grow.

"While the Badger Trust's legal challenge is disappointing, it comes as no surprise. However, it should not be allowed to derail the progress made to date, as a lengthy and drawn out court case would see the epidemic continue to escalate."

Mr Walters also hit out at misleading and inflammatory claims by animal rights organisation aimed at misleading public opinion. He said: "There seems to be no end to the unfounded and misleading statements being issued, by many of those who oppose the cull, which fly in the face of conclusive scientific evidence gathered over almost four decades.

"In areas where the disease is endemic in the badger population experience has shown that no amount of cattle controls will help without parallel moves to significantly reduce transmission from badgers.

"The Royal Society, the world's oldest and most respected science academy, has published work indicating that cattle movements are likely to be responsible for just 16 per cent of bTB herd outbreaks, and that 'High-risk spread is probably the result of cattle-badger-BTB interaction', and the English badger culling trials have succeeded in slashing bTB incidences by more than a half.

"There is no doubt that badgers are the major obstacle to controlling the spread of bTB to cattle and that badger culling works. Any talk about farming practices being a significant factor are unfounded and have been shown to be such following numerous initiatives aimed at cattle alone.

"The bottom line is that badgers and cattle share the same fields, yet we have been culling tens of thousands of cattle while ignoring the wildlife reservoir.

"It is also completely wrong to talk about the eradication of badgers - the aim is one that should be supported by all parties, namely to have healthy badgers and healthy cattle living alongside each other."

FUW DISAPPOINTED BY MEAT PLANT JOB LOSSES

Today's announcement that an Anglesey meat plant plans to axe nearly half its workforce was described as a highly disappointing development by a Welsh farmers' leader who also expressed relief that the lamb slaughtering facility at the plant would remain operational.

"The loss of more than 200 jobs at Vion UK's Welsh Country Foods plant would be a serious blow for the island's economy and beyond, especially for the livelihoods of the workers and their families involved, but we are heartened that they will keep the slaughtering facility open," said Aeron Prysor Jones, chairman of the Farmers' Union of Wales livestock committee.

"We understand the Dutch-owned company plans to close the meat cutting operation at Gaerwen and transfer the retail packaging and distribution work to their plant at Winsford in Cheshire. We hope the economic climate will improve sufficiently for the Anglesey plant to return to a higher level of operation in the not too distant future."

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/