Caernarfonshire farmer recognised with FUW-HSBC Outstanding Service to the Welsh Dairy Industry Award

Every year the Farmers’ Union of Wales recognises an individual who has made a great contribution towards the development of the dairy industry and has become an integral part of the dairy industry in Wales.

 

This year, the Union is proud to honour Aled Jones, a dairy farmer from Hendy, near Caernarfon, and a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society,  with its FUW-HSBC Outstanding Service to the Welsh Dairy Industry Award.

Carmarthenshire dairy farmers offer insight to successful business

Diversification is not something that suits every farm business but the Edwards family of Groesasgwrn, Llangynderyn, near Carmarthen certainly know how to put the talent and skills in the family to good use.

South Wales FUW Academy explores diversification options

Members of the South Wales FUW Academy, a collaboration of the Union’s Gwent, Glamorgan and Brecon and Radnor branches, recently visited Fforch Farm in the Rhondda, explored the first farm shop in the area and visited micro-brewery Cwm Rhondda Ales, to learn about different ways of diversification. 

 

Fforch Farm is a beef and sheep farm with 40 cattle and 500 sheep and has been in the Jones family for 33 years. Lynne and Lorna Jones, who have 6 daughters and 1 son, run the farm and farm shop together with their daughters Grug, Caryl, Aneira and son Arwel.

Will it be a ‘Full House’ in Pembrokeshire?

The Pembrokeshire branch of the Farmers’ Union of Wales has organised a charity bingo night for the Union’s Presidential charities - Alzheimer’s Society Cymru and the Farming Community Network.

Wales’ farming unions outline ‘Welsh way forward’

Wales’ two farming unions have launched a joint principles paper aimed at placing Welsh food, farming, livelihoods, communities and our environment on a firm post-Brexit footing.

The paper, entitled ‘A Welsh way forward’, was revealed by Farmers’ Union of Wales President Glyn Roberts and NFU Cymru President John Davies at a briefing session for Assembly Members and Welsh Government staff on Wednesday, October 24, at the Pierhead Building in Cardiff. The event was kindly sponsored by Paul Davies AM.

The publication comes in response to the Welsh Government’s current consultation on future rural and land management policies – entitled ‘Brexit and our land’.

Since the consultation was launched, both Unions have held meetings throughout Wales, engaging with thousands of farming businesses, as well as those from a wide range of allied industries such as agricultural merchants and contractors, auctioneers, vets, processors, accountants and financial advisers.

Based on their respective consultation engagement programmes, the Unions have gained an unrivalled mandate to speak on behalf of rural Wales.

Younger Voice for Farming committee enjoy Montgomeryshire farm tour

 

Delegates of the Farmers’ Union of Wales Younger Voice for Farming committee enjoyed a whistle-stop tour of Montgomeryshire farms, exploring two very different enterprises.

Their first stop took them to Pen Y Derw, near Welshpool, where FUW members Mark and Helen Williams, farm 40 suckler cows and 900 ewes, as well as running a successful egg production unit.

The poultry unit, which is home to 16,000 free range hens and has been up-and-running since June 2017, provides the family with an additional income, as well as offering extra part time employment in the area.

Younger Voice for Farming Chairman Geraint Davies said: “Mark and Helen are a real credit to our industry. We are so thankful to them for taking time out of their busy day and for showing us around. We were left with lots of food for thought.”

The group went on to join the Farmers Weekly Awards 2018 Sheep Farmers of the Year, John and Sarah Yeomans at Llwyn y Brain
Adfa, Newtown.

Sheep industry group calls for funding to control Sheep Scab in Wales

 

The control of sheep scab in Wales is one step closer following the production of an industry-led sheep scab report which is set to be launched on Wednesday, November 7.

The report is a collaborative project between individuals from the farming unions, veterinary practitioners and other leading industry and stakeholder experts and was written in response to growing concern over the levels of sheep scab infestation in Wales.

The recommendations of the Welsh sheep scab industry group, which are contained in the report, have been passed to the Welsh Animal Health and Welfare Framework Group and to the Cabinet Secretary, Lesley Griffiths.  

Group members are now calling on the Welsh Government to provide the funding needed to implement the recommendations outlined in the report.

Sheep scab is an insidious problem and has significant welfare implications for infected sheep.  Previous attempts to eradicate this disease have had limited success and this is largely due to treatment regimes which have attempted to control this disease on a farm-by-farm basis.  

Flintshire farmers look forward to AGM

 

Flintshire farmers are looking forward to the local Farmers’ Union of Wales annual general meeting, which is being held on Thursday, October 25 at Plas Hafod Hotel, Gwernymynydd, commencing at 7.30 pm.

Speakers on the night include Clare Pillman, Chief Executive NRW , who will be talking about her role within NRW and its vision for the future, Lisa Worthington-Jones, Barclays Bank Agricultural Manager, who will be talking about Brexit and what services the bank provide and Mark Williams. FUW Life Insurance Consultant, who will be talking about how important Life insurance is and all different options of life insurance.

Speaking ahead of the event, FUW Denbigh and Flint CEO Mari Dafydd Jones, said: “This promises to be an informative evening, with many #FarmingMatters to be discussed. I look forward to seeing you all there.”

A reminder of where your food comes from at Gwledd Conwy Feast

The importance of understanding how food is produced, and reconnecting our population with the land will once again be a key focus for the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) at Gwledd Conwy Feast next weekend (October 26 - 28).

This annual event, supported by the FUW, is an excellent tool for the industry to remind locals and tourists who attend the event of where their food comes from.

“Every year we get questions and faces showing disbelief when they realise how milk is produced or when they realise that potatoes come from the ground before becoming a crisp.

“We are faced with a generation of children who don’t know how their food is produced, where it comes from or how to prepare it.

“The disconnect between food producers and consumers is widening, so this ever growing event plays a vital role in addressing this issue,” said Gwynedd Watkin, FUW Caernarfonshire County Executive Officer.

“This is an excellent example of how useful an event such as this can be. Such initiatives should be supported and encouraged across Wales and be fully supported by the Welsh Assembly Government,” added Gwynedd Watkin.

The FUW is grateful to all the local farmers who are kindly bringing their livestock to the event, from cattle, sheep and goats, shire horse and alpacas, to many different birds and pigs.

FUW Academy takes members on JCB factory tour

 

The FUW Academy has ventured outside of Wales taking members for a tour of the world renowned JCB Factory in Uttoxeter.

Organised by the Montgomeryshire branch of the Farmers’ Union of Wales, delegates met George Bamford, son of current JCB Chairman Lord Anthony Bamford and Grandson of founding member Joseph Cyril Bamford, and enjoyed a short presentation in the JCB Theatre on the global manufacturing facilities and products.

FUW Montgomeryshire CEO Emyr Wyn Davies said: “The trip was a real success and we even had a personal tour of the ‘Story of JCB’ where we got to see examples of the very first JCB prototype.

“The tour continued onto the assembly line of the world famous Backhoe Loader machine and we saw the process of how the machine was built from delivery of the sheet steel, profiling, laser cutting, welding, paint shop, assembly and finally the finished product.

“I would like to thank the team at JCB for showing us around and of course our members for their support and company on this excursion which will be the first of many as part of the FUW Academy.”

Thank you

by Angharad Evans, Welsh Editor, Y Tir

Thank you!  For what?!  That’s up to you.  The autumn has arrived, it’s thanksgiving season and an opportunity to be thankful for the summer blessings, be it for the harvest (although as I’m writing this month, many are still waiting for dry weather to try to finish the harvest - a slightly different story from just a few months ago!), health, family and friends. We all have something to be thankful for, but very often the simple little word is taken for granted.

After a busy summer of being at the Cornel Clecs desk and travelling from show to show with the sheep, it was time to take a little break and leave the desk and sheep for a few days. Our destination was Carmel near Llanrwst for an opportunity to 'recharge the batteries'.

I enjoy the journey through Corris, Brithdir and Bala and then the second half of the journey towards Betws y Coed, seeing the countryside at its best. One disadvantage of the extremely warm weather at the beginning of the summer was that the grass didn’t grow back after everyone had the first crop of silage, and I lost count of the amount of silage fields that were ready to be baled on the first weekend of September.

Another thing that came to my attention when looking around the countryside was the number of attractions for tourists. Here we are, on the brink of the biggest change to our agricultural industry for decades, we’re all in the same boat trying to predict what the future will offer us. But it is not my place to witter on about the uncertainties and worries of Brexit, but rather to focus on the positives that arises from the uncertainty - uncertainty that has forced some to diversify into different areas to secure additional income for their businesses. From bouncing between the high trees on the outskirts of Betws y Coed to canoeing on a lake, there's something to suit everyone!

To break the journey from home to Llanrwst, it was decided to have lunch near Bala Lake. Of course, we've been there many times before, and every time, the place is packed with people venturing on some activity on the water. But what makes this remarkable lake such an attraction for visitors?

It is the largest natural body of water in Wales and is 3.7 miles long and 0.5 miles wide. The River Dee runs through it and the waters of the lake are deep and clear.  Whether it's sailing, canoeing, wild swimming or trout fishing that interests you, all this is possible on Bala Lake.

A bit of myth and magic is associated with the lake too! In the legend of the History of Taliesin, the character Tegid Foel was the husband of the goddess or witch Ceridwen. The place where his court stood is now beneath the waters of the lake. According to folk tradition, the court was drowned one night. It is said that the light of the court and the little town around it can be seen on a moonlit night.

The lake has become famous for another special reason as hundreds of young people flock there for the summer camp, and weekends every year after the Urdd managed to buy Glan-llyn in 1964.

Of course, over the years, the camp has developed, not only in terms of buildings and facilities, but in terms of the activities offered, and also in terms of the age range that take part in the activities. There are now 13,000 young people visiting Glan-llyn annually who enjoy top quality accommodation and activity facilities. With the latest developments the Urdd can ensure that generations of future campers can enjoy the same unique atmosphere on the banks of Bala Lake.

Isn’t Wales a unique country, and we're fortunate of what is on our doorstep, that's enough reason to say THANK YOU!

‘Agriculture and food production should be on schools curriculum’ - FUW urges

The importance of understanding how food is produced,reconnecting children with the land and preparing pupils for employment in the modern technical world of agriculture was highlighted recently when FUW Education and Training Committee delegates met with Ysgol Gyfun Gymunedol Penweddig and Ysgol Bro Hyddgen pupils and Cabinet Secretary for Education Kirsty Williams AM.

Addressing a group of year 10 students, Anwen Hughes, the Union’s Education and Training Committee chairperson, said: “We are faced with a generation of children who don’t know how their food is produced, where it comes from and how to prepare it. The disconnect between food producers and consumers is widening. There is a simple way of addressing that problem - add agriculture and food production to the school curriculum.

“Penweddig school is an excellent example of how successful such courses can be and it is great to see so many young people taking up the BTEC on offer. Such initiatives should be supported and encouraged across Wales, and not be limited to secondary schools.”

Lowri Evans, who teaches the BTEC in Agriculture for students from both schools said: “This was a really positive meeting and I’m glad the Cabinet Secretary and FUW delegates were able to join us for the meeting.

FUW looks forward to busy Welsh Dairy Show

 

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is looking forward to a busy day at the Welsh Dairy Show on Tuesday October 30.

Hosting 2 seminars on the day at the FUW stand, the focus will be on the challenge of managing milk price volatility in a fair and transparent way and we will be exploring what the opportunities and challenges are for the dairy industry post Brexit from an exporters point of view.

Addressing the ‘Future Milk Prices? Smoothing Volatility Without Speculating’ seminar is DairyVol™ co-founder Tim Cowen. The event will start at 11.30am and provides an opportunity to ask questions, as well as getting a deeper understanding of how dairy farmers can secure a fair long term milk price by taking the tops off the highs and bottom off the lows.

Remember, remember - livestock and pets don’t like 5th November

 

With bonfire night fast approaching, the Farmers’ Union of Wales is urging people to remember the distress fireworks and sky lanterns can cause to livestock and pets and reminds them of the dangers posed by bonfires.

“We call on people to stick to the firework safety code at all times, especially over the bonfire and Halloween season, to minimise the risk to livestock, pets and humans,” said FUW Policy Officer Charlotte Priddy.

“This time of year poses many dangers to animals and children – so don’t let negligence and ignorance be the cause for a real-life horror,” added Mrs Priddy.

Animals in general are not fond of the noise of fireworks and can become quite anxious during this time of year. Therefore, the FUW urges people to be considerate and not let them off near livestock.

“It is also a good idea to make sure that your pets have been micro-chipped by a vet and that the details on the chip are up to date prior to bonfire night, just in case they go missing,” said Mrs Priddy.

The FUW recommends that people visit an organised display but if you are having a display at home please make sure you follow the firework code at all times to minimise the stress for farm animals and children.

FUW’s #FairFarmFunding campaign yields success

 

Farmers across Wales can breathe a sigh of relief as Environment and Rural Affairs Secretary Michael Gove,  during the second reading of Agriculture Bill, said that agricultural funding will not be Barnettised, and the current settlement which allocates money to Wales on rural and agricultural criteria will be maintained.

Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns has today also reinforced that commitment giving further hope to the farming community in Wales.

Describing the announcement as a very positive step forward, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “This is most welcome news and provides some guarantee on future funding for Welsh agriculture. Wales would lose around half of its rural funding if allocated through the Barnett Formula.

“This announcement has been long awaited and I am pleased to see that the FUW’s lobbying on not Barnettising Welsh rural funding, as part of the #FairFarmFunding campaign, has been successful. 

“We now look forward to working with the UK Government to generate a future farming funding programme that suits the needs of family farms in Wales, that are so vital to the rural economy.

“As we have made clear since the EU Referendum and as promised by key Brexiteers, the budget for Welsh agriculture must be maintained at at least current levels.”

 

More information on the implications of the decision visit: https://vimeo.com/256086655

FUW team up with Horizon to help Anglesey farmers short of winter fodder

Farmers on Anglesey who are short of winter fodder have been given a helping hand by the Farmers’ Union of Wales and Horizon.

“We are pleased to announce that Horizon are donating a limited number of bales of silage from the Wylfa Newydd site to farmers who live and farm on Anglesey. To be eligible they will need to meet specified criteria, agreed between Horizon, FUW, RABI, FCN and they have to prove that their farm is below 250 acres,” said FUW Anglesey CEO Alaw Jones.

Those wishing to apply can bring their SAF summary into the county office in order to verify that their farm size and the bales are only for the applicant’s own use and not for resale.

“After a disastrous harvest earlier in the year, caused by the severe drought, the window of good weather in recent weeks has come as a lifeline for hundreds of farmers and their animals, allowing desperately needed additional crops of silage to be taken ahead of the autumn and winter but farmers are not out of the woods yet. So this is a great example of a successful company supporting farmers in their local community and I hope that those who are struggling will take up the offer,” added Alaw Jones.

‘Don’t bottle up your feelings’ FUW reminds farmers ahead of World Mental Health Day

Ahead of World Mental Health day (October 10), farmers and those living in rural communities across Wales are being reminded that ‘it’s ok to say’ and the Farmers’ Union of Wales is urging them not to hide problems from themselves, their families and friends and to talk about their personal feelings.

The FUW made a commitment at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show in 2017 to continue raising awareness of mental health problems in rural communities and is therefore renewing the call for those who might be suffering from mental health problems to seek help.

“This year's theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health is young people and mental health in a changing world. Our young people are faced with an uncertain future and their world is changing rapidly, which will no doubt cause anxiety and stress to many.

“Their farming businesses are under threat, our export markets post March 2019 are unclear and any support for the industry has still not been finalised. Add to that the growing problem of bovine TB and you have a recipe for the perfect storm,” said Union President Glyn Roberts.

FUW mourns passing of life member Gwilym Jones

 

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is mourning the loss of its life member Gwilym Jones, who sadly passed away aged 89.

Mr Jones of Ty Cerrig , Llanrhaeadr YM, Oswestry, Salop, was a Vice President of the FUW between 1982 and 1986 and again during 1990 and 1993 and was elected a Life Member of the FUW during 1995 in acknowledgement of his service to the FUW .

Gwilym Jones was born into farming stock and has always worked on the land. In 1957 he bought his first farm, Ty Cerrig, at Llanrhaeadr YM near Oswestry and started out milking just three cows by hand.

He joined the FUW in 1958 but it was not until the late '60s that he became Chairman of the Tanant Valley Branch, serving on the Denbigh County Executive Committee. He was also elected onto the Milk Committee, of which he was Chairman for two years from 1979 until being made Vice President, a position he held for 11 years.

North Wales FUW Academy event a great success

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has kicked-off its first ever North Wales FUW Academy event with a bang, hosting two successful and informative farm visits for its members.

The FUW Academy is an initiative to deliver engaging, informative and practical events across Wales and a program of such events is being developed for all members.

The events were jointly arranged by the Union’s Caernarfonshire, Meirionnydd,and Anglesey branches, and saw a fantastic turnout of younger members from North West Wales.

As part of the day members visited Harri Parri, Fferm Crugeran, Sarn on the Lleyn Peninsula, and Arwyn Owen, at Hafod y Llan Nant Gwynant,  where detailed presentations were given about each of the farms.

Leading the visits was FUW Younger Voice for Farming Committee chairman Geraint Davies, who said: “The two farms were very different from each other. Crugeran being an intensive lowland beef and sheep business, whilst Hafod y Llan is an upland unit farmed extensively up to the summit of Snowdon.  

FUW calls for Welsh badger cull programme to be reinstated following English cull results

 

New figures demonstrating the positive impact of badger culling on bovine TB levels in the High Risk Area of England have prompted the Farmers’ Union of Wales to call for a previous Welsh Government plan to cull badgers to tackle disease to be reinstated.  

This follows the recent publication of data by Defra which demonstrates that the completion of the 4 year badger culls in both Somerset and Gloucestershire have reduced the number of new TB outbreaks by around half.

The English badger cull programme forms part of the strategy for achieving Officially Bovine TB Free Status for England by 2038.  The positive results have prompted Defra to roll-out the cull in the remaining High Risk Areas of England.

Ian Lloyd, FUW Animal Health and Welfare Committee Chairman, said: “These findings are unsurprising and support the FUW’s interpretation of the results of the Randomised Badger Culling Trials. Previous modelling by the FUW showed that herd incidences could be reduced by 30 percent in a 5 year cull and by a further 33 percent in the following 3 years post-culling.”

Importance of families and food production among key reasons for Wales Nature Friendly Farming Network Chair resignation

Bala farmer Geraint Davies, who resigned as Welsh Chair of Nature Friendly Farming Network last week, has cited differences of opinion on recognising potential impacts of policies on families and food production as key reasons he felt he could no longer lead the organisation in Wales.

Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN), which was launched in January this year at the Real Oxford Farming Conference, comprises farmers from across the UK, and is funded and supported by a range of organisations, including the RSPB, Wildlife Trusts, National Trust, Friends of the Earth and the Organic Soil Association.

Speaking about his decision, Mr Davies said: “This decision was not taken lightly, but following numerous discussions with the charities and stakeholders who support and fund NFFN it became clear to me that my strong views about protecting Welsh farming families, food production, rural communities and our natural environment were not necessarily shared by some of these organisations.

Montgomeryshire farmers raise concerns about future of industry with First Minister

Farmers from Montgomeryshire have raised concerns about the future of the industry in light of the proposals made in the Welsh Government's ‘Brexit and our Land’ consultation with First Minister Carwyn Jones.

Hosting the meeting at their farm Llwyn y Brain, Adfa, Newtown, were FUW members John and Sarah Yeomans. The Yeomans family run a herd of 73 cows consisting of pedigree Limousin, Limousin x, Belgian Blue x, and 15 homebred replacement heifers (closed herd). They further keep 495 ewes which are mainly Beulah and 160 Beulah ewe lambs and the flock has been closed since 1981. The couple sell Beulah draft ewes and some yearlings, as well as Welsh Mule ewe lambs for breeding and sell finished lambs on a deadweight basis.

The 232 acres of owned farmland sit between 750 feet to 1420 above sea level, with 100 acres (34.8ha) of lower land and 132 acres (53.4ha) of largely improved hill land.  A further 53 acres of additional land is rented.

Speaking at the meeting, John Yeomans said: “Farmers across Wales will naturally be concerned about some of the proposals within the current consultation and the uncertainty created by this, coupled with the uncertainty of future trade deals, it makes it all very difficult for anyone to forward plan. I would urge the Welsh Government to slow down and ensure that they have done the right impact assessments and modelling for the whole of Wales before bringing any new schemes to life.”

Treading the golden path to London

By Angharad Evans, Welsh Editor, Y Tir

Who remembers the popular television series that was broadcasted on S4C in the mid 90’s, ‘Y Palmant Aur’?  I have to admit that at the time, I only took an interest in the series as it was filmed in my local area and Sunday nights turned into guessing games of where the local scenes were filmed. So thanks to teenage innocence, I did not realise the true meaning or the historical element of the story.

‘Y Palmant Aur’ was a period drama set in London and West Wales in the 1920's, which followed the trials and tribulations of the Jenkins family and was based upon a book of the same title.

DEFRA AGRICULTURE BILL A ‘LEAP INTO THE ECONOMIC AND LEGAL UNKNOWN’ SAYS FUW

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has described DEFRA’s Agriculture Bill, introduced to Parliament today, as a ‘leap into the economic and legal unknown’ given current uncertainty around Brexit and World Trade Organisation rules.

 

In what they describe as a ‘landmark agricultural bill’, DEFRA sets out a legal framework to phase out direct support for farming over a seven year period to 2027 while introducing a system of paying landowners for “public goods”.

FUW mourns passing of life member Meurig Voyle

Farmers' Union of Wales stalwart Meurig Voyle - who was appointed County Executive Officer for Denbigh during 1966, and  subsequently, during 1968, was given responsibility for the county of Flint -  has sadly passed away.

 

Responding to the news FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “The farming world has today lost one of its biggest advocates and the FUW has lost a friend, a member of our farming family. He told me once that he married twice once his wife and then the FUW - he was a character like no other. Meurig will be sorely missed and our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”

 

Meurig Voyle was educated at Llanddarog Primary School and Queen Elizabeth Grammar School where he was awarded rugby school colours.

FUW Gwent branch looks forward to Usk Show

 

The Gwent branch of the Farmers’ Union of Wales is looking forward to a busy day at Usk Agricultural Show on Saturday September 8.

Glyn Davies, FUW Gwent CEO, said: “We are really looking forward to the show and hope to see many of you there for plenty of #FarmingMatters and #FairFarmFunding chats.

“The Welsh Government Consultation, “Brexit and our land” will form the focal point of discussions and I urge anyone with an interest in the survival of our rural economy to speak to us about their concerns and join our campaign to get proposals to phase out direct payments rejected - all you have to do is fill out a postcard which we will then send to the Cabinet Secretary Lesley Griffiths.”

In addition, joining the FUW on the day are Dr Christianne Glossop, Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Gwent Police & Crime Commissioner, Jeff Cuthbert, as well as local AM Nick Ramsay and MP David Davies.

“Everyone is invited to call at our stand, which is opposite the main ring - you’re guaranteed a warm welcome and of course a cuppa,” added Glyn Davies.

Contact

Farmers' Union of Wales
Llys Amaeth
Plas Gogerddan
Aberystwyth
Ceredigion
SY23 3BT

01970 820820
post@fuw.org.uk

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