SHOW STALWART'S AWARD FOR SERVICES TO AGRICULTURE IN CARMARTHENSHIRE

THIS year's winner of the Farmers' Union of Wales-United Counties Agriculture and Hunters Society annual award to the person making the most outstanding contribution to agriculture in Carmarthenshire is David Lloyd who has been a member of the society for over 40 years.

Mr Lloyd of Dolgwili, Glangwili, near Carmarthen, is a past chairman and president of St Peters YFC and club leader for over 20 years. He has also been a member of the Welsh Dairy Show committee for over 20 years and assistant chief steward for the last eight years.

He works with his wife Hefina for J J Morris Auctioneers in Cardigan.
He received his award during the Welsh Dairy Show's 20th anniversary dinner from FUW's Carmarthenshire county executive officer Meinir Bartlett.

During the dinner, a second award was made to Ronnie Thomas of Uwch Gwili, Peniel Road, Carmarthen, for his continued long voluntary service of over 40 years to the society. Mr Thomas received a framed photograph from the society's president Roger Evans.

FUW WARNS CUTTING CAP BUDGET WILL THREATEN KEY EU GOALS

THE Farmers' Union of Wales today reacted angrily to a draft EU report suggesting CAP spending after 2013 will be significantly reduced.

According to AgraEurope magazine, the report reveals spending would be cut in order to free up spending for new EU priorities.

FUW president Gareth Vaughan said: “The draft report outlines main priorities in the post-2013 financial period that include climate and energy security, and strengthening prosperity and security.

“Agriculture is a central to these key issues, and yet the draft proposals suggest a significant cut in the CAP budget.

“Any threat to the CAP budget will undermine the central role that farming must play in addressing these major challenges so to talk about such cuts while simultaneously outlining the importance of addressing these issues is simply ludicrous.

“The risks we now face in terms of food security and climate change, coupled with the challenges of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, means that any threat to the CAP budget represents a threat to every EU citizen.”

The report also suggests a further splitting of the budget by introducing a "third CAP Pillar" in order to address climate change issues.

“Between 1988 and 2013 the overall share of direct agricultural support in the EU budget will have fallen by almost a half, while we have seen a massive increase in the number of EU Member States,” said Mr Vaughan.

“If a third pillar is to be introduced, then the CAP budget must be increased in a way that reflects that. The EU cannot just keep carving up an already diminished budget into smaller and smaller pieces and expect to address major problems such as climate change."

There is another suggestion that Member States might be given further freedom to "nationalise" agricultural spending.

“The UK already suffers disproportionately because of our historically low allocation in terms of Rural Development funding, and the national support mechanisms that exist in other member states," Mr Vaughan stressed.

“A further movement towards re-nationalisation of agricultural spending would undermine the whole principles that underpin the EU, and are likely to severely disadvantage Wales’s rural communities.”

FUW INVESTS IN TRAINING FOR CARMARTHENSHIRE PUPILS

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has invested in helping pupils at a Carmarthenshire school learn about the countryside and the food it produces.

The union has donated £600 to help set up an Agriculture and Countryside Management training course for 14 to 19-year-old pupils at Dyffryn Taf school, Whitland.

FUW president Gareth Vaughan said: "In past years there have been many instances of agricultural college mergers and closures and when we heard that Dyffryn Taf School were launching a new BTEC Agriculture and Countryside Management course for their pupils we were more than happy to lend a helping hand.

“It is vital that young people have the opportunity to learn of the challenges that face farmers from day to day as well as how food is produced.

“We need to ensure that the industry can continue to receive young, highly-trained technicians who have received top quality education and training.”

Head teacher Robert Newsome said: “As with any vocational course, costs are significant. We are very grateful therefore for the FUW’s financial support.

“They are seeing it as an investment into the industry that can provide proper training opportunities locally. The £600 will go towards buying personal equipment and tools for the course.”

The course is run in collaboration with the county's Coleg Sir Gar further education college as part of its Learning Pathway programme that offers continuity and progression for students aged 14 to 19.

Core elements of the course are: safe and effective working practices; transport supplies of physical resources within the work area; maintenance of structures and equipment; and care of animals.

AUDITORS RAISE FURTHER CONCERN ABOUT MILK QUOTA ABOLITION

A special report by the European Court of Auditors has raised further concerns over the impact milk quota abolition will have on Welsh and UK dairy farms, says the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW).

Speaking at the Welsh Dairy Show in Carmarthen, FUW milk committee chairman Eifion Huws said: “This is now the fourth report to be published in recent years that highlights the price volatility and fall in farm incomes that will accompany the abandonment of the milk quota regime.

“The FUW has received criticism from some regarding its long-standing policy on milk quotas, yet the evidence is now overwhelming - abandoning milk quotas will be a bad thing for the dairy industry, and that is something we cannot support.”

The Court of Auditors considered how effectively the Commission manages the market for milk and milk products with reference to the main objectives of EU dairy policy.

Those objectives include achieving equilibrium on the milk market, stabilising prices, and ensuring a fair standard of living for producers.

The Court found that the nominal milk producer price varied little during the 1984-2006 period compared with the period before the introduction of quotas. However, in real terms, the milk producer price has fallen continuously since 1984.

The report goes on to draw attention to the overall effects expected following the withdrawal of quotas.

These include “an increase in milk production, which should lower the market price”, “a reduction of producers' incomes, in spite of an increase in the quantities produced”, and “a stimulation of the EU's exports, possibly causing a downturn in world prices”.

The report also highlights the fact that farmgate and consumer prices do not follow parallel trends, stating: “Between the beginning of 2000 and mid-2007 nominal consumer prices for milk products increased by 17 % while the nominal price paid to the producer fell by 6%”.

It goes on to say that “on a market liberalised by the abolition of quotas, production capacities will remain relatively inflexible and producers might not be in a position to adapt rapidly to fluctuations in demand.

"The Council has decided to retain public intervention as a 'safety net'. But this safety net is so thin there is a risk it will be of only limited use in a major crisis and quite inadequate in relation to the risks in respect of the surpluses that the EU might face.

“The Commission and the Member States must ensure that the concentration of processing and distribution companies does not reduce milk producers to mere price-takers and does not restrict the final consumer’s possibility of enjoying an equitable share of price reductions.”

Mr Huws added: “Once again, the FUW’s long standing position on milk quotas has been completely vindicated. This represents yet more evidence confirming that the abandonment of the quota regime will significantly add to the problems already being felt by the industry.”

COPING WITH bTB RESTRICTIONS IS A REAL CHALLENGE, SAYS FUW MEMBER

The overwhelming impact of bTB restrictions on the day-to-day running of a farm was today brought home during a farm visit in Carmarthenshire arranged by the Farmers’ Union of Wales.

First hand evidence of the impact of bTB restrictions was outlined during the visit to Penlan Argoed farm, Penlan Road, Carmarthen, run by FUW members Roger and Alison Evans and family.

Mr and Mrs Evans run a herd of 350 dairy cows and have been dealing with the challenges of bTB restrictions since April 2008. Due to the restrictions all unwanted dairy bull calves have had to be put down and beef calves, normally sold at two to three weeks, have to be reared on the farm.

Mr Evans said: “The130-head beef unit now involves a lot of extra work and puts pressure on farm buildings, especially over the winter months. We also had to change our grazing system in order to cope with the high stocking rate that has been forced upon us.

“The cows in milk are split into two groups - early lactation and late lactation. Due to three successive wet summers and as our stocking rate is currently at 3.3 LSU/ha we decided that the early lactation group would have to remain indoors until they are confirmed well in calf at about 140 days.

“This move was taken to reduce the pressure on the grazing land and to allow better quality pasture for the late lactation cows, especially as a lot of the farm is sloping and prone to poaching when wet.”

Due to the high stocking level, growing enough forage became a problem for the family farm. Feeding rationing on the farm is currently based on a semi-total mixed ration (TMR) system with flat rate concentrates being fed in the parlour.

“bTB restrictions have brought many challenges our way and we’ve had to work hard in order to resolve these problems.

“For example a lack of forage has meant that we had to extend the forage part of the ration by feeding brewers grains and sugar beet pressed pulp in the TMR. We also have to buy in additional silage as is needed, either as a standing crop or as silage from a clamp.”

In the past the family has invested heavily in order to increase their output which was already relatively high as their cows are producing on average 8,000 litres per annum.

“It was a case of grow or fold,” said Mr Evans.

The farm now boasts a 30/60 swing over herringbone parlour with a 22,000 litre milk tank and has a cubicle building for 155 cows. But even with the constraints of bTB restrictions Mr and Mrs Evans are looking to the future with an additional building of 50 cubicles and a feed passage for the fresh calver group planned for this winter.

“Our first priority at the moment is to be clear of bTB as early as possible so that we can sell all the beef cattle and increase the dairy herd to 400 cows in order to reach our goal of producing 3.5 million litres of milk per annum,” added Mr Evans.

“In the past we have bought in cattle from local herds and marts but our long term aim is to breed all our own replacements thus operating a totally closed herd in order to minimise disease challenges.”

The family also has plans to replace the older section of the dairy housing with a new more spacious and comfortable building to benefit the higher yielding cow.

Succession is important to Mr and Mrs Evans and they are keen to delegate more responsibilities to the younger generation in the family. “We are lucky our children are keen to farm, and we are keen to see them carry on with our farming tradition,” said Mr Evans.

The family are quite aware that more challenges lie ahead especially in terms of tackling tighter environmental restrictions in light of the effects of climate change. “There is no doubt that challenging times lie ahead of the industry.

“Climate change will undoubtedly bring about stricter environmental controls especially in respect to slurry and farm waste. And farming after 2013, with a reduced or no Single Farm Payment, will also be an obstacle that we’ll have to meet head on,” said Mr Evans.

Speaking after the farm visit, FUW’s dairy committee chairman Eifion Huws said: “The Evans family has a well run farm in Penlan Argoed and they are an example to us all. They have proved that, whatever obstacle is thrown in their way, where there's a will there's a way!”

LIFELONG SERVICE TO DAIRY SECTOR EARNS FARMER TOP AWARD

A Carmarthenshire farmer was today rewarded for his diligent lifelong service to the Welsh dairy industry.

Bryan Thomas was presented with the Farmers’ Union of Wales-HSBC Bank plc award for outstanding service to the Welsh dairy industry during today’s Welsh Dairy Show at Carmarthen.

United Counties Agricultural and Hunters Society chairman and a member of the judging panel Lynn Davies said: "Bryan’s contribution to the dairy industry in Wales and the UK throughout his lifetime is second to none and I am delighted that he has won this highly prestigious award."

Mr Thomas of Gelli Onnen, Cwmffrwd, Carmarthen, has been a board member of the National Milk Records for 15 years and is currently the chairman of the Dairy Development Steering Committee. He also sits on the Assembly’s Dairy Strategy Group.

He is a past Council member of the Holstein Friesian Society and is a founder member of the Welsh Dairy Show.

At the 2005 Royal Welsh Show, he received a Fellowship from the Royal Agricultural Society for his services to agriculture.

But most people would associate Mr Thomas with the highly respected pedigree Holstein Gelliddu herd which he and his father established during the 1950s.

The Gelliddu herd has won many herd competitions and events within the South Wales British Friesian Society, Holstein South Wales Society and the National Milk Records.

Mr Thomas now farms with his son Gareth and the herd continues to be one of the leading pedigree Holstein herds in Carmarthenshire.

Bryan is a well known prestigious judge at many national events. He also has strong links with the Carmarthenshire Federation of Young Farmers Clubs due to his contribution to St Peter’s YFC.

He is the first person to receive two prestigious awards within the county as, in 2006, he won the FUW/Sioe Sir Gâr award for outstanding services to agriculture in Carmarthenshire.

FUW’S WORST FEARS ABOUT DEFRA’S ‘VISION’ FOR AGRICULTURE CONFIRMED

The Farmers’ Union of Wales today warned that Defra’s “Vision for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)” would decimate Wales’s rural communities.

The stark warning follows publication of a joint report - by Queen’s University, Belfast; the Northern Ireland Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI); and the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) of University of Missouri - on the impact of changes to the European CAP proposed by Defra and the UK Treasury in 2005.

The work confirms the union’s worst fears and predicts massive falls in livestock numbers and commodity prices.

FUW president Gareth Vaughan said: “The FUW has raised our concerns regarding the impact of Defra’s proposals with Ministers, politicians, and civil servants, at every opportunity since 2005, and this work now confirms exactly what we have been saying.

“The proposals, if allowed to go ahead, will rip the heart and soul out of Wales’s rural communities and completely destroy what little food security we retain.

“The fall in livestock numbers would have serious consequences for Wales’s environment, while the drop in income for farms and food businesses would close down many businesses and cost thousands their jobs.”

The report predicts that Defra’s plans would result in a 191 per cent increase in beef imports, leading to a 29% fall in Welsh suckler cow numbers, whilst Welsh beef production could drop by 11%. Welsh ewe numbers are also set to decrease by 19%, and a 16% decline in finished lamb production is estimated.

Declining livestock numbers is also coupled with a decline in livestock prices. Hardest hit will be beef producers, with a staggering estimated drop in beef prices of 25%.

Last week the FUW, in evidence to the Welsh Assembly’s rural development sub committee, labelled Defra’s document as “a vision for the destruction of UK agriculture”.

During last week’s Labour Party conference, Defra Minister Hilary Benn emphasised the UK Government’s concerns regarding food security.

He said: “Our farmers and farmers around the world will have another two to three billion mouths to feed in two generation’s time.

“Our farmers - at the heart of our rural communities - are ready for the challenge. And we should support them in the great job they do.”

Responding to Mr Benn’s comments, Mr Vaughan said: “If this is really the case, then the government must stand by their words and dissociate itself from the 2005 vision document and policies that would completely undermine Europe’s food security and be apocalyptic for our rural communities.”

FUW HIGHLIGHTS WELSH DAIRY CONCERNS TO ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE

THE Farmers’ Union of Wales today (Thursday October 1) highlighted key concerns about the future of the Welsh dairy industry during an official inquiry by the National Assembly’s rural development sub committee.

During the evidence session, FUW dairy committee chairman Eifion Huws stressed the need for farmers to receive a fairer share of the prices paid by consumers for dairy products, and drew attention to the predicted impact of milk quota abolition on Welsh dairy farm incomes.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Huws said: “The past 18 months has seen the publication of three detailed analyses of the impact for Wales, the UK, and other EU regions of quota abolition.

“Each one of those predicts a fall in Welsh farmgate milk prices and a fall in Welsh milk production as a result of quota abolition.

We are already experiencing the lowest production levels in four decades, and prices that are unsustainable. As a union standing for the protection of Welsh family farms, we cannot support changes to the EU milk regime that will reduce farm incomes and make matters worse.”

Mr Huws was referring to Defra’s 2008 report “Phasing out Milk Quotas in the EU”, the Joint Research Centre’s August 2009 paper “Regional Economic Analysis of Milk Quota Reform in the EU”, and the recently published “Impact of HM Treasury/Defra’s Vision for the Common Agricultural Policy on Agriculture in Wales”, all of which predict significant decreases in farmgate prices and milk production as a result of the abolition of the quota regime.

During the evidence session, the FUW slammed Defra’s “Vision for the Common Agricultural Policy”, describing it as a vision of the destruction of the UK agricultural industry.

“The document that details the impact of Defra’s ‘vision’ makes stark predictions for all key Welsh agricultural sectors,” said Mr Huws.

“Not only does it predict a fall in Welsh dairy incomes if Defra’s intentions became EU policy; it also predicts falls in incomes for the beef and sheep sectors that would decimate Welsh agriculture as a whole and tear the backbone out of rural Wales.

“There is now overwhelming evidence to support the FUW’s longstanding belief that abolition of milk quota and Defra’s ‘vision’ for the CAP is against the best interests of Wales, and I therefore trust that the rural development sub committee will take that evidence into account in making any recommendations to the Welsh Assembly Government.”

FUW WELCOMES CRUCIAL STEP IN WELSH bTB ERADICATION PROGRAMME

The Farmers’ Union of Wales today welcomed the laying of the Tuberculosis Eradication (Wales) Order 2009 before the Welsh Assembly, describing it as a crucial step towards bTB eradication.

The Order, which will allow the Welsh Assembly Government to cull and vaccinate badgers for the purpose of disease control, was laid before the Assembly by rural affairs minister Elin Jones.

Following the announcement, FUW bTB spokesman Brian Walters, an organic farmer from Carmarthenshire who has lost numerous cattle to the disease said: “This is a long anticipated and much welcome step towards controlling a major disease vector.

“We know that bTB infected badgers are one of the greatest barriers to bTB eradication. We have seen cattle controls stepped up significantly over the past decade, yet incidences of bTB continue to rise at an alarming rate.

“Research has shown that bTB rates in Welsh badgers are around 17 times higher than they are in cattle. We simply cannot go on killing more and more cattle when all the evidence points to badgers being the most significant source of disease in our worst hit areas.”

The Order will also make it on offence to interfere with efforts designed to combat the disease, which Mr Walters described as a key component of the Order.

“If a cattle keeper obstructs the testing or removal of cattle for bTB control purposes, they are dealt with severely - and quite rightly so.

“The same must apply to others who interfere with the control of this deadly disease.

The disruption of the English trials, coupled with obstruction, must certainly have undermined the impact of those trials, and it is imperative that this does not happen in Wales.

“The English trials have shown that reducing badger numbers by 80% or so led to a fall in bTB incidences of 54%, and even outside the culling areas incidences have fallen by almost a quarter,” added Mr Walters.

NOMINATIONS INVITED FOR ‘OUTSTANDING’ FUW CARMARTHENSHIRE AWARD

Nominations are invited for the annual Farmers’ Union of Wales award to the person who has made the most outstanding contribution to agriculture in Carmarthenshire.

The award will be presented to the person who, in the view of the judges, has made the most outstanding contribution to the agricultural industry in Carmarthenshire during the last few years.

The judges will include representatives from the FUW, HSBC bank plc and the United Counties Agricultural and Hunters Society.

FUW’s Carmarthenshire county executive officer Meinir Bartlett said: "Nominations should be in the form of a letter or citation giving full details of the work and achievement of the nominee with, of course, emphasis on their positive and beneficial effect on agriculture in Carmarthenshire.

"The award will be presented at the 20th anniversary dinner of the Welsh Dairy Show on Friday, October 23 at the Quins Rugby Club, Carmarthen. Tickets are available from the FUW’s Carmarthenshire county office and the United Counties Agricultural and Hunters Society."

Nominations should to be sent to: Farmers’ Union of Wales, 13A Barn Road, Carmarthen, SA31 1DD by Thursday October 1.

FUW HELPS FARMER WIN CONTROVERSIAL 30-YEAR PLANNING ROW

The Farmers’ Union of Wales today revealed Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority granted permission for a permanent dwelling on a farm after the union helped the applicant compile records and details to demonstrate the farm’s viability.

Park authority officers had recommended refusal of the application by farmer John Phillips, of Nant y Mynydd, Cwm Gwaun, Fishguard, but he won an 11th hour reprieve in July after asking the FUW to compile a report to help justify the application which has now been granted.

"We were approached at a late hour to report on the financial viability of Mr Phillips’enterprise," said FUW business development director Emyr James.

"We were pleased to be part of a group of people supporting this application and that we were able to provide the written evidence the authority required. It must have been an extremely stressful period for John Phillips and his family."

Controversy had raged over the application for more than 30 years since Mr Phillips was first granted temporary consent for a residential caravan in 1974, which had been renewed until 1998.

A number of later applications to build a small house were refused and now, to add insult to injury, the authority had instructed Mr Phillips to remove his mobile home by October of this year.

The plight of the family was the subject of an S4C current affairs documentary "Y Byd Ar Bedwar" earlier this year.

"There was imminent danger that they would be turned out of their home where they had lived and worked their patch of Pembrokeshire all their lives like their forefathers before," said Mr James.

The authority received nine letters in support of the application, one of which referred to a petition of more than 100 names, and it was also backed by Cwm Gwaun Community Council.

Mr James also welcomed proposed Welsh Assembly Government changes to planning guidance announced recently by environment, sustainability and housing minister Jane Davidson.

"They will be of tremendous benefit to the farming community and rural areas. They recognise the fact that the rural economy is a dynamic process which needs to adapt to ever-changing circumstances.

"They are also something the FUW has been campaigning for, for many years, and we will be actively engaged in the consultancy process to draw up the appropriate guidelines."

Under the proposals, Technical Advice Note (TAN) 6 is being reviewed to provide more opportunities for new affordable housing for local people and to broaden the scope of essential dwellings.

"TAN 6 is about meeting the needs of rural areas and helping to attract young people into farming by providing opportunities to build a second house on an established farm.
"It will encourage the 22 local and three National Park authorities to work with rural communities to identify opportunities for affordable housing and to diversify the rural economy.

"We share the views of a number of progressive individuals who believe that the concept of a National Park is meaningless unless the rural communities within the Park are viable, sustainable and vibrant," added Mr James.

FUW REWARDS YOUNG DAIRY FARMER WHO ACHIEVED 20-YEAR AMBITION

A young farmer who achieved a 20-year ambition to run his own dairy farm when his local council offered him a holding has won the Farmers’ Union of Wales Pembrokeshire branch’s annual Countryside Award.

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 the Pembrokeshire County Show today (Wednesday, August 19).

"From the first days that I could get about as a toddler I was helping out on the family’’s dairy farm at Martletwy," he said.

And he was barely into his teens when he developed an ambition to run his own dairy herd. But the family farm was sold 11 years ago due to the ill health of his father Brian who has since recovered from his illness.

"After that set-back I carried on working on local farms as a general farm worker," said Julian. "We moved to a smallholding and I always kept a couple of sucklers and remained very keen and interested in farming.

"But it was never enough to give me the start I needed so, about eight years ago, I began my own business of relief milking and agricultural fencing. It was extremely hard work but it was just the chance I needed."

Then four years ago he applied to run a National Trust farm and his ambition and drive helped him to be selected for the 40-acre Amroth Farm at Amroth. "This gave me the space to increase cattle numbers and keep my business thriving," Julian said.

But this was still not enough for him and he remained determined to achieve his ambition of owning a dairy herd. His break came just over 18 months ago when he had the opportunity to apply for the county council’s 90-acre dairy farm at Lower Coxhill.

"I was thrilled to be offered the opportunity even though it meant more commitment and less time for my existing business," he said. "But it meant I had realised my dream.

"I now own a herd of 60 dairy cows and still have my fencing business. I also help our silage contractor out."

When Julian took over Amroth Farm his girlfriend Libby moved in with him. They were married eight months ago and she is expecting their first child in December.

The judges said all three of the shortlisted nominees would have been very worthy winners but they eventually 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," the judges added.

FUW INSURANCE SERVICES APPOINT TWO NEW AREA OFFICERS IN POWYS

The treasurer of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society (RWAS) and a farmer’s wife have been appointed new area officers in Powys by the Farmers’ Union of Wales.
Fifty-one-year-old David Powell, of Y Fan, Llanidloes, was made RWAS’ joint honorary treasurer in 2004 and honorary treasurer three years later. He will cover Radnorshire for FUW Insurance Services.
Farmer’s wife Julie Phillips, 30, of Upper Chapel, Brecon, was a Lantra administrator for eight years before joining the FUW. She will cover Breconshire.
Mr Powell was employed by HSBC Bank since leaving school and was their senior commercial manager, based at Llandrindod Wells, before he joined the FUW.
FUW business development director Emyr James said both appointments will boost the union’s image in Powys and give further support to the good work of the union’s county executive officer Aled Jones.
"FUW Insurance Services are now insurance brokers in their own right. We use a panel of agricultural insurance providers to ensure members receive the best possible protection at a competitive price.
"If you haven’t insured with us recently, why not ask David Powell or Julie Phillips for a quote - you may be pleasantly surprised."
David can be contacted on 07794 314 542 and Julie on 07890 511 527. Both are also contactable on 01982 553 406.

FUW OFFERS WARM WELCOME AND HOST OF EVENTS AT EISTEDDFOD

Members of the Farmers’ Union of Wales throughout Meirionnydd have donated nearly £1,000 to provide the prose medal and the winner’s £750 prize-money at the National Eisteddfod in Bala this week (August 1-8).

The prose medal ceremony takes place at 4.30pm on Wednesday, August 5 and competitors were requested to submit a volume of work with "texture" as its theme.

"We sent a letter out to members seeking contributions for this very prestigious prize and the cash just rolled in," said FUW’s Meirionnydd county executive officer Huw Jones.

"I am extremely grateful for all their contributions towards one of the eisteddfod’s top awards and we hope it goes to a very worthy winner."

A warm welcome awaits members, supporters and friends at the FUW stand (No 641-642) on the Maes where a host of events will be staged throughout the week.

"The stand is situated in a convenient spot near the main pavilion and is an excellent chance to call in for a cup of tea and a chat at the same time as enjoying the numerous displays and events we have organised," said Mr Jones.

Throughout the week keen eisteddfodwyr Aeryn Jones, of Dinmael, near Corwen, will be showing items from his collection of old agricultural tools which will sure to be a major talking point.

Also, there will be a photographic exhibition of FUW members by Chris Clunn, a professional photographer who now lives in Maentwrog.

"The photographs are only a small example of Chris’s work and interest and he would be more than happy to visit and photograph other union members within Merioneth any time in the future," said Mr Jones.

On Monday and Wednesday, Rhian Owen, from Aberdyfi, will be present on the stand to show how to cut up a lamb. Rhian works full time in her family’s shop, Cigydd Aberdyfi, and won the title of Young Butcher of the Year throughout Wales in 2006.

The shop was bought by her father, FUW member Dewi Owen and family, Esgairgyfela Farm, Aberdyfi, in 2005 and they clinched one of the True Taste awards in 2007.

On Wednesday, Aled Owen, Penyfed, Ty Nant, near Corwen, an expert in the field of sheepdog trials will visit the stand. He has won numerous prizes as a trialist, including the world championship in 2002 and 2008.

On Thursday, there will be a special visit by a local girl who became famous recently. Elin Haf Davies was part of the first female crew to sail across the Indian Ocean last month.

The girls, who call themselves the "Ocean Angels", were the first crew to row 3,720 miles across the Indian Ocean from Australia to Mauritius, taking 79 days to do so.

"They have raised a considerable amount of money for the Breast Cancer Care charity and people will have a further opportunity to donate to this important charity during Elin’s visit," said Mr Jones

Also on Wednesday, Gwenan Pawee, originally from Llwyngwgan Farm, near Llangwm, will demonstrate the craft of wool spinning and this again is sure to attract much interest.

Leaflets and information about the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) charity will also be available throughout the week to explain the work that it does and the help that is available to agricultural families.

"This charity receives the FUW’s full support and every attempt is made to help in any way," Mr Jones added.

PEMBROKESHIRE FREELANCE IS FUW JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR

Freelance agricultural journalist Meyrick Brown is the Farmers’ Union of Wales Agricultural Journalist of the Year for 2009.

Meyrick, of Rhosgranog House, Llandeloy, Haverfordwest, has a lifetime’s practical experience of dairy, beef and arable farming, drawing on his depth of knowledge to become a highly respected journalist covering a range of topical issues and farming industry developments, as well as highlighting farmer success stories.

He writes regularly for the Western Mail and Carmarthen Journal, provides a weekly column for the Observer series in Pembrokeshire and contributes to the Pembrokeshire Farmer, Pembrokeshire Life and Farmers Guardian. He has also assisted in TV and radio research.

In 2006 his "outstanding contribution to the promotion of agriculture in Pembrokeshire" was formally recognised and last year he received the Pembrokeshire Farmers Club Award "for services to agriculture".

Meyrick is married to Janet and the couple have two children - Helen, who is marketing manager for a company exporting medical products, and Angela, who is a ceramic artist and lecturer.

Announcing the winner, FUW president Gareth Vaughan said Meyrick was a very worthy candidate for the award.

"His aim is, and has always been, to widely promote all that is best in agriculture and to draw public attention to matters causing stress among vulnerable sectors of the industry."

The annual award - a shepherd’s crook - is usually produced by prize-winning Aberystwyth crook maker Hywel Evans but in a departure from tradition Meyrick’s crook was previously owned by S4C’s Cefn Gwlad presenter Dai Jones, Llanilar, who donated it to a recent auction and knocked it down to the highest bidder - a member of the FUW staff.

The auction followed a successful charity golf competition at Aberystwyth Golf Club and helped raise £6,000 towards Ceredigion’s host county appeal fund for next year’s Royal Welsh Show.

FUW SAYS DFB INQUIRY IS MAJOR STEP FORWARD

Westminster’s environment, food and rural affairs committee’s decision to examine the background and implications of Dairy Farmers of Britain’s (DFB) collapse was described today as a significant move towards answering Welsh dairy producers’ concerns.

“Many questions need answering following DFB’s demise which continues to have a devastating impact for hundreds of affected farmers and former employees of the cooperative,” said FUW milk committee chairman Eifion Huws.

“We therefore welcome this inquiry and plan to participate to clearly express our members’ numerous concerns about DFB’s demise.”

The committee will consider:

  • the impact of DFB’s collapse on dairy farmers and the industry;
  • the governance and accountability structures of DFB;
  • Defra’s response to DFB’s collapse; and
  • the causes and lessons to be learned from the collapse.

The committee has invited written submissions from interested parties by Monday August 31 and will accept further submissions after a receivers’ meeting on September 7. A programme of oral evidence will be announced in due course.

Anglesey farmer Mr Huws was a member of an FUW delegation that demanded such an inquiry during meetings with Defra minister Jim Fitzpatrick and members of all political parties.

Speaking after a meeting at the Royal Welsh show with Clwyd West MP David Jones to discuss the matter, Mr Huws added: “DFB’s failure created massive financial damage for farmers and employees throughout Wales and beyond with 1,800 farmers seriously affected.

“There is also grave concern that DFB’s receivers may still pursue some producers who had effectively underwritten the cooperative.

“We hope the inquiry will bring much needed clarity in terms of the events that led up to this catastrophic collapse.”

Mr Jones, whose constituency was one of the worst hit by the collapse, said: “A large number of questions arise as a consequence of the collapse of DFB and I am very pleased that the EFRA Select Committee has announced this important inquiry.”

FUW LEADERS DISCUSS MILK CRISIS AT COMMONS TALKS

Farmers’ Union of Wales leaders have met the Westminster food, farming and environment minister Jim Fitzpatrick and numerous Welsh MPs of all four main parties to discuss issues of concern to dairy farmers including the recent collapse of the Dairy Farmers of Britain farmers’ cooperative.

Lengthy discussions took place at separate meetings with the FUW which was represented by union president Gareth Vaughan, milk committee chairman Eifion Huws and two dairy farmers from Powys and Anglesey.

They met Anglesey MP Albert Owen, who organised a cross-party meeting, Mr Fitzpatrick and several other Welsh MPs. The other meeting, organised by shadow Welsh minister and Clwyd West MP David Jones, was also attended by shadow Welsh secretary Cheryl Gillan.

The union delegation expressed their concerns about the future of the industry and pressed for an enquiry into the problems building up to the closure of Dairy Farmers of Britain. They were pleased to learn that Labour were in full support of keeping the Milk Quota in future.

Mr Vaughan felt the meetings had been very constructive and productive and was pleased discussions had also taken place into the possibility of an Ombudsman being appointed for the farming industry.

"We are extremely grateful to Mr Owen and Mr Jones for their support and for organising the meetings and are also appreciative to all the other MPs who attended and gave their valuable time to meet representatives from the union and dairy sector."

Mr Jones said later that the FUW delegation spent an hour discussing DFB’s failure and other issues of current concern, including electronic identification of sheep. "Many farmers in Wales and the north of England have lost large sums of money as a result of DFB’s collapse.

"Some are now facing heavy claims by the receivers under the terms of their guarantees. It is hard to see how the co-operative could have collapsed with such large debts without warning signs becoming apparent long before.

"I believe that an inquiry into DFB’s failure is called for and I will continue to press for one in Parliament."

FUW CARDS COULD MEAN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH

THE Farmers’ Union of Wales will be on hand to give out Ordnance Survey (OS) grid references to Royal Welsh show visitors next week in an exercise that could mean the difference between life and death.

In a joint venture with Wales Air Ambulance, the FUW has produced cards with space for information such as a person’s home postcode and OS grid reference. The card can then be kept near the telephone at the home address to be used in an emergency.

Due to Wales’ scattered population and diverse landscape, many in Wales live in isolated locations far from an accident and emergency service and air ambulances can sometimes reach casualties far quicker than any other response team on the ground.

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

The quick response times and the expert medical care provided by the Wales Air Ambulance crews across Wales ensure that this Golden Hour is achieved every time.

Issuing the cards was the brainchild of the FUW’s Caernarfonshire area officer Dafydd Jones, who lives in the remote village of Ysbyty Ifan, near Betws y Coed.

Following a talk with Tomos Hughes, of the Uwchaled first response team, the FUW printed the cards with the logo: " Ble Ydych Chi - Where are You" with a blank space to fill the post code and the Ordnance Survey grid reference.

Mr Jones said: "As people living in the countryside, especially in a remote part of Wales, we recognise the importance of the Air Ambulance service and also the region’s police helicopter service. They have become a major part of the emergency services’ response team.

"By now we all know of someone who has been in an unfortunate situation needing the service of the Air Ambulance, and if it wasn’t for their quick response and the shortening of travelling time some of those people would not be here today.

"Indeed, the fast response of these services can be the difference between life and death."

A Wales Air Ambulance spokesman said: "Wales Air Ambulance helps to save time, and save lives. You can help too by knowing your grid reference.

"Time really matters in an emergency and Wales Air Ambulance can reach any part of the country within 20 minutes. The grid reference initiative from the FUW will also raise awareness of the work our air ambulance crews do in remote farming areas."

FUW ACCUSES PM OF LACKING INTEREST IN FARMERS’ EID CONCERNS

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has accused the Prime Minister of lacking interest in the plight of Welsh sheep farmers after he refused to condemn the EU for deciding to introduce the compulsory electronic identification (EID) of sheep after 2010.

Nearly 400 farmers and politicians have signed a petition on the 10 Downing Street website urging Mr Brown to publicly condemn the EU for its decision which will place UK farmers at an unfair disadvantage compared with importers into the EU who only have to comply with standards well below those required of UK farmers.

The petition, in the name of FUW vice president Glyn Roberts, states that compulsory EID means that the increasing financial and practical burdens placed upon UK farmers will put them at a competitive disadvantage compared with importers into the EU.

Copies of the petition, which calls on the EU to reverse it decision, have been signed by a further 400 FUW members at the union’s 12 county offices throughout Wales.

The petition stresses the technology used for sheep EID has major flaws, including reliability, which brings into question the credibility of the decision.

It adds: "The Government should therefore fight for all the concessions permitted, while making it clear that the actions of the EC are premature, disproportionate, and unjust for the UK sheep industry."

But in a Government response to the petition the demand for the Prime Minister to publicly condemn the EU’s decision has been ignored.

The Government merely admits it is concerned about the disproportionate costs and benefits of individual recording and points out that it has asked the European Commission to review the appropriate Regulation to check whether its objectives are being met in the most cost effective way.

It adds that new rules were agreed in 2003 in a bid to phase in improvements to EU sheep identification and tracking arrangements following the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak.

"Defra has worked very closely with the industry since 2003, when the Regulation was first adopted, and will continue to work closely with them with regard to implementation," states the Government’s response.

"They have identified there are practical issues with implementation, and Defra will work with them to develop a system which is as practical as possible and that industry can make work."

Mr Roberts said: "Naturally, we are very disappointed by the Government’s response and the Prime Minister’s apparent refusal to condemn the EU’s decision on this matter.

"It is well established that Ministers from all of UK’s devolved regions are opposed to the Regulation, so why not speak out against the railroading of EID regulations by the EU?

"I fully appreciate that there are negotiations going on behind the scenes, but those should be based on the evidence and rational arguments put forward by the FUW and others over the years and if the Commission and Member States dig their heels in for political, rather than rational reasons, that behaviour should also be criticised.

"There is now widespread opposition to EID amongst sheep farmers throughout the EU, and it is about time somebody pointed out that the majority of EU farming ministers have failed their own farmers.

"Those in power should publicly speak out against this and the many other ridiculous and irrational Regulations we have to face, rather than being afraid to rock the boat."

FUW SAYS EID MEASURES ARE SMALL CONCESSIONS

European Commission proposals to ease the administrative burden on farmers after electronic identification (EID) of sheep and goats is introduced next year were described by the Farmers’ Union of Wales today as small concessions.

Welcoming the proposals, the chairman of the union’s hill farming committee Derek Morgan said: "This is one of the concessions we lobbied the Commission and its Joint Research Centre for during their visit to Wales in February, and I am glad an element of commonsense has been allowed to prevail.

"The provision will be a significant help for those sending sheep to market, as it will allow market operators to do the electronic reading and reporting for them.

"However, it is a small concession in the grander scheme of things, particularly as farmers sending sheep out on tack or between holdings will still have to individually record and report movements themselves."

The EC proposals include: electronic reading of animals at critical control points (eg markets, slaughter houses) instead of at each single farm; a simplified procedure for retagging of animals; and reducing information obligations for the annual inventory.

EID will become obligatory for most lambs born after December 31, 2009 and from 2011 the individual identity of each sheep or goat will be recorded whenever they move.

FUW LEADERS MEET WELSH MPS AT WESTMINSTER OVER DFB COLLAPSE

A four-man delegation from the Farmers’ Union of Wales led by its president will meet Welsh MPs at Westminster on Wednesday (July 15) to discuss the serious concerns of the Welsh dairy sector following the collapse of Dairy Farmers of Britain (DFB).

Mr Vaughan will be joined by the union’s milk committee chairman, Anglesey dairy farmer Eifion Huws, who, as a DFB member, has lost tens of thousands of pounds after the farmers’ cooperative suddenly went into receivership.

Together with FUW policy director Nick Fenwick and Powys dairy farmer Bryan Jones, they will attend separate meetings organised by Anglesey’s Labour MP Albert Owen and shadow Welsh minister and Clwyd West MP David Jones.

Mr Owen has already visited Mr Huws’s farm for a first-hand overview of the effects of DFB’s collapse on the Welsh dairy sector and David Jones has questioned Commons leader Harriet Harman and Defra minister Hilary Benn about the circumstances surrounding the co-operative’s crash.

Around 1,800 farmers throughout Wales and Northern England have lost millions of pounds as a consequence of DFB’s receivership, both in terms of lost revenue and capital. Now they have been warned by the receivers that they may be liable on guarantees they signed when they joined the group.

Mr Vaughan said today: "DFB’s collapse has been disastrous for numerous people involved in the Welsh dairy industry who are now struggling to remain in business.

"Their plight just keeps getting worse especially after the news that the receiver may pursue them on their guarantees.

"We will be urging the MPs to demand that the Government carries out a full inquiry into all the reasons for DFB’s collapse."

FUW WELCOMES ASSEMBLY’S HELP FOR WELSH DAIRY INDUSTRY

A package of Welsh Assembly Government measures to help the Welsh dairy industry received the firm support of the Farmers’ Union of Wales today.

Rural affairs minister Elin Jones announced that following the recent collapse of Dairy Farmers of Britain (DFoB) she could exercise some exceptional measures of flexibility within EU rules.

As a result, Welsh dairy producers who did not receive payment for milk supplied to DFoB in May and meet the conditions of the CAP Single Payment Scheme will, from October 16, receive a 70% advance on the payment they would normally be paid from December.

"During a recent meeting with Elin Jones we agreed that such an advance payment should be made in order to help those who did not receive payment for their milk following the collapse of DFB, and we are very glad she has taken the matter forward in this way," said FUW’s milk and dairy produce committee chairman Eifion Huws.

Ms Jones also announced the Assembly had joined forces with DairyCo - the national levy board for the dairy industry - to jointly fund a new high-level co-ordinator post to work on behalf of dairy farmers in Wales.

The post, to be advertised nationally shortly, will ensure that in future Welsh dairy farmers receive a range of complementary support, assistance and strategic direction.

"The minister’s decision to work with DairyCo and appoint a head of dairy development for Wales is a helpful measure at a crucial time for the sector," Mr Huws added.

Ms Jones said the 70 per cent advance of the full 2009 Single Payment could only be made once all validation checks have been successfully completed.

FUW MEMBER’S PLIGHT WINS AM SUPPORT

An Aberconwy tenant farmer has complained to his local AM that he had still not received a big Tir Gofal payment expected last January and later promised it would be paid into his bank account a month ago.

Farmers’ Union of Wales member Gwynedd Evans, of Bryn Bras, Padog, Betws y Coed, met Gareth Jones AM with union officials and raised the issue together with other matters including the need for common land to be included in the proposed Glastir scheme as soon as possible.

The cost of electronic tagging (EID) of sheep and the proposed EU legislation controlling private water supplies was also discussed.

Mr Evans said he was pleased that Mr Jones and Wales MEP Jill Evans were already pursuing with the Welsh Assembly Government the possible derogation of the water supplies legislation.

But after his substantial Tir Gofal payment had been held up since January due to cross compliance red tape he claimed he had been promised it had been sorted out and the payment would be in his bank account a last month.

However, it has still not arrived and he and his family are finding it difficult to manage because he is investing in a new slurry pit which must be completed in time for the winter housing of his suckler cow herd.

Mr Jones assured Mr Evans he would raise the non-payment issue with the Assembly’s rural affairs minister Elin Jones.

FUW HONOURS TWO WELSH BLACK CATTLE BREEDERS

Two well-known Welsh Black Cattle breeders - both stalwarts of the Farmers’ Union of Wales - were presented with awards during the union’s annual general meeting today in recognition of their lifelong work.

Trefor Jones, founder of the Cwmcae Herd of Welsh Blacks at Llandre, Bow Street, near Aberystwyth, was recently installed as the breed society’s president. He has exported cattle and sheep to Europe and is a mine of information on the problems of exporting cattle because of TB and other restrictions.

He is always willing to assist and promote the FUW and has exhibited his prize bulls at both Stradey Park and the Millennium Stadium to stress the union’s support for Welsh Beef when the Scarlets and Wales played against the All Blacks.

Mr Jones always supports local and national shows and has won numerous prizes including the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society’s beef champion in 2005.

Known to all as Trefor Cwmcae, he is a past chairman of the FUW’s Ceredigion branch and is currently one of the county’s delegates on the FUW Grand Council and Ceredigion’s representative on the union’s central livestock, wool and marts committee.

FUW president Gareth Vaughan presented him with the award in recognition of the agricultural industry in Wales.

Mr Vaughan also presented Richard ap Simon Jones, of Ysguboriau, Tywyn, with an award in recognition of services to the FUW and the agricultural industry in Wales.

Mr ap Simon Jones has been a leading figure of the FUW since its formation 54 years ago and is now regarded as a father figure of the union. He was national vice president between 1976 and 1980 - a crucial period in the development of the FUW when it was officially recognised by the government.

For almost the whole of his farming life in Ysguboriau, he has maintained unstinting loyalty to the union, regularly attending county and national meetings, and he still attends the county committee in Dolgellau and the FUW Grand Council as a life member.

He has made an outstanding contribution to the FUW and the agricultural industry, and was awarded the MBE for his services in the early 1980s. During the early 1990s, he became an influential chairman of the Gwynedd Flood Defence Committee, a post he held for 11 years.

He has also been a leading member of the Welsh Black Cattle Society - having been a former president and chaired its governing council for 12 years.

He has been a cattle judge at major agricultural shows - the Royal Welsh Show, the Royal Show, and Royal Highland Show - and is a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies.

He began farming Ysguboriau in 1952 after marrying Gwenda Jones, whose family had run the farm since the beginning of the last century. Mr R ap Simon Jones has now retired from farming and the land at Ysguboriau, including adjoining farms, is farmed separately by sons William and Simon Jones who are also renowned stockmen.

In 1996, William won the supreme interbreed champion at the Royal Welsh Show with his Welsh Black cow and Simon, whose main interest is the sheep enterprise, was UK Shepherd of the Year in 1981.

GARETH VAUGHAN RE-ELECTED AS FUW PRESIDENT

Gareth Vaughan was re-elected for the sixth successive time as president of the Farmers’ Union of Wales during the organisation’s council meeting in Aberystwyth this afternoon (Tuesday, June 16).

Mr Vaughan, who begins his seventh year in office, won the overwhelming confidence of the union's members when he was elected by delegates from all of the union's 12 county branches for the top post.

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

"We have seen long overdue improvements to livestock prices over the past 12 months - due primarily to the weakness of the pound - but these will have to be sustained for many years if the industry is to make up for what have been dire returns for more than a decade."

Born in Llanidloes in 1941, Mr Vaughan attended Manledd Primary and Llanidloes High Schools.

He left at the age of 15 to work on the family farm, and joined Llangurig Young Farmers Club where his interests included public speaking and drama. He runs a traditional beef and sheep unit at Cwmyrhiewdre Farm, Dolfor, near Newtown.

He farms in partnership with his wife of over 40 years, Audrey, and 11 years ago his daughter Catherine and son-in-law Brian joined the business.

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

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

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

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

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

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

FUW LEADER CONDEMNS SCRAPPING OF TIR MYNDD AGRI-ENVIRO SCHEME

The Farmers’ Union of Wales president Gareth Vaughan revealed today he was duty bound to condemn the Welsh Assembly Government’s decision to scrap the Tir Mynydd scheme of payments to farmers within Less Favoured Areas.

"While the Union commends the position taken by the Assembly on Bovine TB, there is one recent WAG decision that we cannot condone and that is the one to abandon Tir Mynydd," Mr Vaughan told the union’s annual general meeting in Aberystwyth.

"This decision brings to an end a policy based upon principles established more than sixty years ago under the 1946 Hill Farming Act - principles that recognise the fundamental importance of maintaining Wales’s farming and rural communities in order to avoid deprivation, land abandonment, and rural depopulation.

"The abandonment of those principles in favour of environmental measures is a position that our members fundamentally oppose, whether changes in focus are driven by the European Commission or by the Assembly Government, and over recent weeks I have been approached by countless numbers of farmers who believe that their businesses and communities are threatened by the recent decision.

"The truth of the matter is that rural populations are an intrinsic part of the environment - they have created the environment. They play a key role in maintaining the environment. And the diversity of wildlife and biodiversity that we enjoy exists not in spite of farming, but because of farming."

Mr Vaughan stressed that the environment relied upon farming families and the majority of farming families relied significantly on the Tir Mynydd scheme, one of five agri-environment schemes in Wales due to be replaced by one scheme called Glastir from 2012.

"These families may well be threatened unless the new Glastir scheme is carefully crafted in a way that ensures that it is not overly prescriptive or bureaucratic and, above all else, fills the gulf created by the abandonment of half a century of handicap payments.

"We also have major concerns about the practicality for the Assembly of implementing the Glastir scheme, and I sincerely hope that sufficient staff will be available to produce perhaps as many as sixteen thousand detailed farm maps and agreements, while undertaking as many as 65 private interviews with farmers every single working day during the transition period.

"As part of the stakeholder group that will help formulate the Glastir scheme, the union is of course committed to doing all it can to ensure that Glastir is as practical and beneficial as is possible.

"However, be in no doubt that the FUW, like thousands of farmers across Wales, has major concerns regarding the Glastir scheme and the impact it will have on our rural communities. I am duty bound to condemn the decision to abolish Tir Mynydd."

Mr Vaughan reminded delegates there was no animal disease in Wales more concerning than bovine TB which costs the industry and taxpayers millions of pounds each year, and causes untold stress and suffering for all concerned.

"Following years of lobbying by the FUW, the Welsh Assembly Government and members from all political parties have taken the decision to stand shoulder to shoulder on the issue of TB in badgers, and this sends out a clear lesson in maturity and honesty to those amongst our English neighbours who threaten to undermine the efficacy of future Welsh and UK TB control measures.

"For too many years politicians have buried uncomfortable truths about TB in wildlife, pandering to animal rights extremists who, through threats and misinformation, have managed to steer government policy away from what is in the best interests of human health and the taxpayer.

"In Wales, such attempts to corrupt the democratic process are more common than ever - for example, in one leaflet that has been widely distributed by Badger Watch and Rescue Dyfed, no less than eight out of ten so called ‘answers’ to commonly asked questions are either grossly misleading or plain untrue.

"Such campaigns are deliberately designed to mislead members of the general public into lobbying against a badger cull, and I therefore hope that the Assembly’s Rural Affairs Minister and her colleagues will stand up to such disgraceful campaigns of misinformation.

"Because what has been shown in Wales is that, by grasping the nettle, by refusing to allow animal rights extremists to divide and conquer, and by being honest with the general public about the role that badgers play in transmitting TB, ways forward can be found that will reduce incidences of disease in cattle and wildlife.

"I therefore, once again, congratulate the majority of National Assembly Members, the Welsh Assembly Government, and, in particular, the Minister for Rural Affairs for the courageous stance that has been taken on TB.

"That stance stands in stark contrast to the cowardly approach that has been adopted in England - an approach based on cowering in the face of intimidation from animal rights extremists and hiding behind one ridiculously decisive statement published in the Final Report of the Independent Science Group on TB that is an embarrassment to the scientific community, and is contradicted by scientific evidence from Great Britain and around the globe.

"The Defra approach not only shows a disregard for animal and human health, but also poses a wider risk of TB transmission from wildlife and the environment, as shown by the recent escalation of TB cases in humans and animals - and all in a world in which the vaccination of children against tuberculosis is no longer routine.

"I therefore, on behalf of our cross border farms, on behalf of farmers throughout the UK, and on behalf of the future health of our cattle, our wildlife, and our progeny, call on Defra to do the honourable thing with regard to TB, rather than risk dragging the whole of the UK down."

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/