Recently-appointed HSBC Bank head of agriculture, Aberystwyth University graduate Allan Wilkinson, will be the guest speaker at the Farmers' Union of Wales' annual eve of the Welsh Dairy Show reception at the United Counties Showground near Carmarthen on Monday October 18 at 7.30pm.

The function will follow a visit in the afternoon (starting at 2pm) to the dairy farm of FUW members Keith and Linda Hughes, of Caeau Newydd, Dryslwyn, Carmarthen.

Together with their son James, the family currently farm under a "New Zealand" method of spring calving, with an extended grazing period, and milking 310 cows - mainly Jersey cross breed cattle.

They also have 180 followers away from the farm under contract rearing.

Mr Wilkinson, 46, is responsible for the bank's farming customers in the UK, leading the specialist agriculture team of over 60 managers.

A farmer's son, he was born and raised in North East England and has been involved with farming throughout his career.

Having obtained a degree in agriculture from Aberystwyth University, he worked as a farm management consultant in Leicestershire for three years before joining HSBC Bank in 1988 as an agriculture banking manager in Shropshire and Herefordshire.

He was appointed senior agriculture banking manager for Cumbria and the North East in 1994 and divisional agriculture manager for Northern Counties, Northern Ireland and Scotland in 1998.

For the last six and a half years he has held a number of senior leadership posts in the retail and commercial bank network leading teams in Northern England and, more recently, as area commercial director in Newcastle and Northumberland.


Montgomeryshire AM Mick Bates will attend a meeting of the county's Farmers' Union of Wales executive committee at Banw Community Centre, Llangadfan, tomorrow evening Tuesday September 7 at 7.30pm.

"I'm pretty sure the Assembly Government's Glastir agri-environment scheme will be one of the main issues members will want to discuss with him," said county executive officer Susan Jones.


The British Wool Marketing Board's producer relations manager Gareth Jones will attend the Farmers' Union of Wales' Merioneth county executive committee meeting at the Ship Hotel, Dolgellau, at 7.30pm next Monday September 6 to give a presentation on the board's activities.

Appointed in December 2008, Mr Jones has responsibility for developing and maintaining the board's producer relations and communications, as well as working closely with farming unions and other agricultural bodies.

Formerly the FUW's county executive officer in Denbigh, he has many links with the Welsh farming community and key stakeholder groups. Before joining the FUW he worked for British Wool for 14 years at its Denbigh depot and he has extensive knowledge of the board's role and the key issues affecting wool producers.


Members of the Farmers' Union of Wales's common land committee have expressed extreme concern about the implications of the Welsh Assembly Government's (WAG) new Glastir scheme for upland communities.

Committee chairman, Rhymney farmer Lorraine Howells, has now written to Assembly opposition environment and agriculture party spokesmen stressing the disruption that the introduction of Glastir after 2011 could cause for upland communities which rely on common land.

"While we would encourage every commoner and graziers' association to look into the possibility of getting their common into the Glastir scheme, we have major concerns about the practicality of doing this for many commons," she said.

"The introduction of the Glastir scheme represents one of the most significant changes for upland communities seen for more than half a century, and failure to enter the scheme will represent the loss of vast sums of money for some local economies."

Miss Howells explained that the vast majority of common land - about eight per cent of Wales's total land area - is categorised as Less Favoured, and 18 per cent of Welsh farmers declare common land on their Single Application Forms. "In some areas, communities are almost entirely reliant on their common grazing rights.

"Recognition of the specific handicaps faced on such land, and the risk of land abandonment and rural depopulation, led to the Hill Farming Act being passed in the immediate post-war period, and has effectively meant support for these areas since the introduction of the 1947 Agricultural Act. However, the introduction of the Glastir scheme represents the abandonment of such payments.

"The EU rules associated with agri-environmental schemes, which are far more restrictive than those which apply to Less Favoured Area payments, bring with them inherent difficulties for common land as they do not properly take into account the unique nature of common land management in the UK."

During the committee meeting members expressed concern that, while there may well be commons where the majority agree that they want, or have little financial alternatives but to sign up to Glastir, the chances of this majority being large enough to meet the 80% criteria set by WAG and the EC may be slim.

"Even if more than 80% do agree to participate, many feel that they will still not take the risk of entering the scheme and incurring penalties as a result of the actions of the minority who decide they wish to continue exercising their full legal rights to graze an individual common."

There is also the concern that those who rely upon common land for 365 days a year, because they have relatively little normal farmland, will be unable to enter the Glastir scheme without reducing their stocking numbers to the extent that their businesses become unviable, and that this will preclude participation.

Members were also concerned that the WAG's decision will mean competitors in other regions of Europe will continue to receive LFA payments which aid production, while Welsh farmers who face similar handicaps will have to make their farms less productive to access equivalent funds, thus undermining the very principles of the European Common Market.

"The FUW has long argued that the Tir Mynydd scheme should be continued, and that any necessary changes should be made over a prolonged period, by adapting the current LFA scheme, as was proposed in the relevant WAG consultation and supported by the Rural Development Sub Committee," said Miss Howells.

"We have also called for delaying the implementation of the Glastir scheme by 12 months in order to seek ways to address the numerous concerns we have; a move which would also ease the significant pressures that implementing Glastir over such a short timescale represents for WAG staff at a time of significant budgetary pressures.

"The union's reasoning for adopting these positions remains completely valid and, as various deadlines approach and changes continue to be made to the scheme, our concern that the implementation timetable is inappropriate grows.

"These concerns have already been made clear to Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones and her officials. However, the committee felt it was important to reiterate these to opposition spokesmen."


Visitors to the Farmers' Union of Wales stand at Usk Show on Saturday September 11 will be invited to fill in the Welsh Assembly Government's Glastir agri-environment scheme scorecard to discover whether they can obtain sufficient points to gain entry into the scheme.
"The promotion of local produce will be the main theme on the stand but members will also be able to have a go at the Glastir scorecard to see if they will be able to achieve enough points to enter the scheme," said FUW Gwent county executive officer Glyn Davies.
"The Usk show is the last on the regular calendar and is the show piece of agriculture in Gwent with exhibitors being restricted from within the county. Showgoers will get a warm welcome on our stand," Mr Davies added.


The Farmers' Union of Wales insurance arm FUW Insurance will sponsor the big Ceredigion rugby derby when Aberystwyth host Newcastle Emlyn on Saturday September 11.

Both teams met regularly until 2009 when Aberystwyth were promoted to the WRU National League's Division 2 and they now find themselves in the same division following Newcastle Emlyn's promotion. "So we are delighted to sponsor this eagerly awaited fixture," said the FUW's director of business development Emyr James.

"We welcome all our long standing and potentially new insurance customers to join us at the match which is guaranteed to be closely contested.


The Farmers' Union of Wales insurance arm FUW Insurance will be well represented on Saturday September 4 at Sennybridge Show at Dickens Field in the middle of the village near Brecon.

"Our exhibition unit will be present and all farmers are invited to meet FUW county representatives for a cuppa and a chat," said the union's director of business development Emyr James.

"Sennybridge Show has a truly community feel about it and the organisers say a great day should be had by all."


Items donated by Dwyfor-Meirionnydd's MP and AM are high on the list of desirables for a promise auction to raise funds for the Wales Air Ambulance service which is Farmers' Union of Wales president Gareth Vaughan's chosen charity this year.

Elfyn Llwyd has offered a tour of the Houses of Parliament with a meal for two and National Assembly presiding officer Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas will do the same at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay.

The event, which takes place on Friday evening September 3 on FUW deputy president Emyr Jones' family farm at Rhiwaedog, near Bala, will also include a Hog Roast and live entertainment.

Tickets at £6 are available from the FUW's county office in Dolgellau by phoning 01341 422298 or via e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The event follows a farm walk during the afternoon arranged by the British Grassland Society in conjunction with the FUW and sponsored by Hybu Cig Cymru and Farming Connect.

"Mr Jones and his two sons won the 2008 British Grassland Society's National Grassland Management competition and the farm is noted for the excellence of its farming enterprise," said FUW Meirionnydd county executive officer Huw Jones.

Lunch and the farm walk is free for those registering in advance with the British Grassland Society on 02476 696600 or via e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.