FUW URGES TESCO TO HELP FUND WELSH DAIRY CENTRE TOO

The Farmers’ Union of Wales’ dairy committee chairman today welcomed the launch of Tesco’s national dairy centre in the Wirral and called on the supermarket to consider assisting a similar centre already set up in Wales.

"The Tesco Dairy Centre of Excellence at Liverpool University’s Wood Park farm is a welcome development as it will bring together experts from across the dairy sector to look at issues from animal welfare to consumer trends," said Eifion Huws.

"But I would also urge Tesco to think about making a financial investment in Wales’ Dairy Development Centre at the Gelli Aur Farm and Technology Centre near Llandeilo which has been going since January 2002.

"It aims to facilitate the development of the Welsh dairy industry through a proactive technology transfer service; market information; demonstrating best practice methods of production; and research and development."The centre has a network of demonstration and development farms to help get best practice methods and new technologies to farmers throughout Wales," Mr Huws, an Anglesey dairy farmer, added.

"Its two development farms aim to demonstrate research work on a commercial scale, illustrate sustainable husbandry, compare various dairy systems and publish physical and financial results.

"The demonstration farms are commercial working farms demonstrating better practice methods of varying dairy production systems whilst maintaining a viable farming business. The centre is financed by the Assembly’s Farming Connect scheme and DairyCo."

Tesco say their project builds on many unique initiatives such as Local Choice milk and the Tesco Sustainable Dairy Group which illustrate its commitment to the dairy industry.

The new centre will bring Tesco, farmers and dairy experts together to work on issues facing the industry and help to build a more sustainable dairy industry in the UK.

Some of the key areas it will look at are:

  • Ways in which to help farmers to deliver commercial benefits on farm
  • Exploring consumer trends and product innovation
  • Animal welfare
  • Environmental best practices
  • Milk quality

FUW SEEKS MEMBERS’ VIEWS ON NEW TB COMPENSATION SCHEME

The Farmers’ Union of Wales will gather the views of its 12 county branches to develop a formal response to the Welsh Assembly Government’s (WAG) proposals to overhaul its bovine TB compensation scheme.

"Meanwhile, I would encourage all Welsh farmers to read WAG’s consultation paper and respond to it before the closing date of April 10," said FUW president Gareth Vaughan.

WAG proposes to link bovine TB compensation payments to good farming practices and disease control measures and the consultation document is available at www.wales.gov.uk/consultations/currentconsultations or by request via e-mail from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

A key aim of its £27m programme of bovine TB eradication is to amend the current system to "ensure a fair deal for herd owners and taxpayers by linking compensation arrangements with the encouragement of farmers to comply with best practice requirements".

Bovine TB in Wales has increased substantially in the current financial year and since last April over £17,734,564 compensation was paid in Wales, compared with £11,185,340 in the same period the previous year - an increase of 59 per cent.

WAG’s consultation paper considers the responsibilities of herd owners and the principles of compensation and, in particular, how these principles can encourage positive on-farm actions and help modify behaviour to prevent the reintroduction of the disease into herds in Wales.

Mr Vaughan said: "No-one would disagree that genuine irresponsible behaviour should be penalised but the approach must be proportional, particularly given past government failures to address the issue of bTB in wildlife which has created the massive problems we are now facing.

"It would be completely unacceptable for a farmer to be penalised if his animals are infected by wild animals over which farmers have no control whatsoever - especially given that it has effectively been illegal to control the disease in wildlife for decades."

FUW REACTS ANGRILY TO MORE FARMGATE MILK PRICE CUTS

The Farmers’ Union of Wales today reacted angrily following the latest round of farmgate milk price cuts.

Their response follows Arla Foods decision to cut its milk price to farmers by 2p per litre (ppl) and First Milk by 1.25ppl.

FUW milk and dairy produce committee chairman Eifion Huws said: "This time of the year almost always brings bad news for dairy farmers with farmgate milk price reductions and increased input costs, energy prices and regulation leading to falling confidence.

"All dairy farmers have serious concerns about their future as they face difficult times in the months ahead. They are already experiencing very tough conditions, with historically high prices still for many inputs and pressure on returns.

"This latest round of milk price cuts began in November when Dairy Farmers of Britain announced a 2p per litre reduction. At the time the FUW called for increased support for the dairy industry but obviously that is not happening.

"For some dairy farmers these big reductions in milk price could be the last straw. It is vitally important that processors and supermarkets stand by the industry at this difficult time and do not let these difficulties trigger a downward spiral.

"I firmly believe the Government should take urgent action to prevent this happening in order to secure jobs in the farming and processing industries."

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/