It’s sunny side up for Carmarthen farmers

A warm welcome and mouth-watering smells await those joining the Carmarthen branch of the Farmers’ Union of Wales at breakfast functions, which have been organised as part of the FUW’s Farmhouse breakfast week campaign (January 21 – January 27).

The events are being held on Thursday, 24 January at Llanddeusant village hall and Friday, 25 January at Llanarthney village hall.

“It is about showcasing the most important meal of the day in a bid to raise awareness of the health and nutritional benefits of breakfast and the huge variety of top quality farm produce available in Wales – ranging from bacon, sausages and eggs to speciality dairy products, breads and cereals. We are really looking forward to these events and hope many of you can join us,” said FUW Carmarthen CEO David Waters.

The breakfasts will start at 08.30am and will cost £10 per person, with all the proceeds being split between Alzheimer’s Society Cymru and Farming Community Network.

Caernarfonshire farmers chime morning alarm for Welsh breakfast week

Once again the Caernarfonshire branch of the Farmers’ Union of Wales is ringing the wake-up bells to promote the wonderful food produced in Wales and highlight the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast during Farmhouse Breakfast Week (January 21 – January 27).

A variety of farmhouse breakfasts are being held in Caernarfonshire, so why not kick start your day the healthy way and join us at one of our 7 breakfasts, which have been organised on the following dates:

Monday 21 January  at Ty’n Hendre, Tal-y-bont, Bangor and Cefn Cae, Rowen, Conwy
Wednesday, 23 January at Glynllifon, Grwp Llandrillo Menai, Ffordd Clynnog, Caernarfon
Thursday, 24 January at Gwythrian, Uwchmynydd, Aberdaron      
Friday, 25 January  at Dylasau Uchaf, Padog, Betws y Coed, and Caffi Anne, Bryncir
Saturday, 26 January at Crugan Farm, Llanbedrog, Pwllheli

FUW Caernarfonshire CEO Gwynedd Watkin said: “I look forward to our farmhouse breakfasts every year. We can start the day together in a positive and healthy way and at the same time raise money for our charitable causes, Alzheimer's Society Cymru and FCN. Over the last 9 years, the Caernarfonshire breakfasts alone have raised over £45,000 and we’re looking for yet another good turnout this year. It’s fair to say that a healthy start is not just good for a healthy heart but also for a healthy mind. As they say, eat breakfast like a King.

Pembrokeshire serves up breakfasts in aid of charities

The Pembrokeshire branch of the Farmers’ Union has organised two farmhouse breakfast functions as part of the Union’s Farmhouse Breakfast week (Monday 21 - Sunday 27 January 2019).

The breakfast functions in the county are being held on Tuesday 22 January 2019, at Canolfan Hermon, Hermon, SA36 0DT and Friday 25 January 2019, at Crundale Hall, SA62 4DF.

Breakfast will be served from 8.00am to 10.30am in Hermon and 8.30am to 11am in Crundale and will cost £10, with all the proceeds being split between Alzheimer’s Society Cymru and Farming Community Network.

“I hope many of you will be able to join us for breakfast. We want you to be a part of what we do, and share your thoughts and worries about the state of the industry, tell us your stories and help us to understand how we can help each other, and what better way to do that than round a table where we share great food and have a cup of tea,” said FUW Pembrokeshire CEO Rebecca Voyle.

To book your place at the table or to offer your assistance at the events, contact the FUW Pembrokeshire team on 01437 762 913.

Have you booked your seat at the FUW breakfast table?

Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day and it is a great opportunity to talk and share your thoughts before starting the day.

So in order to promote the health benefits and have a good catch up before the day starts, FUW teams across the country are once again hosting a variety of farmhouse breakfasts (Monday 21 - Sunday 27 January 2019).

The FUW is also once again taking the farmhouse breakfast to Cardiff on Tuesday 22 January.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “We all get really excited about our farmhouse breakfasts every year. We can start the day together with family, friends and neighbours, in a positive and healthy way and at the same time raise money for our charitable causes, Alzheimer's Society Cymru and the FCN.

“Over the last 8 years for example our Caernarfonshire breakfasts alone have raised over £40,000 and last year we raised the equivalent of a year’s farm income (£13,000). It’s fair to say that a healthy start is not just good for a healthy heart but also for a healthy mind.”

New Year message from FUW President

As I write this year’s New Year Message, there are just under 100 days before we leave the European Union, and, based on events over recent days, there is no telling what might happen over the coming hours, let alone days or weeks in terms of Brexit, the UK Government or decisions which might or might not be taken by Parliament or the people.

FUW welcomes Wales Audit Office report calling for greater scrutiny of the RDP

 

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed the “Managing the Impact of Brexit on the Rural Development Programme for Wales” report by the Wales Audit Office, which considers whether the Welsh Government is effectively managing the risks and opportunities for the Rural Development Programme posed by Brexit.

In their report two key recommendations are made. Firstly that the current scrutiny arrangements for the management and delivery of the RDP that are in place at the moment, should be improved, and secondly that risk management arrangements for the RDP should be clarified and documented.

The report further outlines the importance in viewing wider economic changes and adopting a flexible approach to adapt the Programme where necessary. It also outlines the need to increase the rates of commitment and spending in order to maximise the amount of EU funding that can be drawn down prior to Brexit.

Furthermore the report argues that Welsh Government should ensure that during the transition to any replacement for rural development funds, the Department’s expertise is retained, either in the replacement programme or in the wider Welsh public service.

Responding to the report, Charlotte Priddy, FUW policy officer, said: “We are pleased to see this report looking at the impact on the RDP in light of Brexit and the FUW agrees with the Auditor General’s comment that the “Welsh Government need to strengthen its oversight and scrutiny of the Programme”.

Pressing #FarmingMatters discussed at Ceredigion farm visit

 

Farmers’ Union of Wales representatives from Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Brecon highlighted the most pressing #FarmingMatters when they met Mid and West Wales AM Helen Mary Jones.

The meeting was hosted by FUW Ceredigion County President Aled Rees at Treclyn Isaf, Eglwyswrw, giving members and the Mid and West Wales AM the chance to see not just the farm but also to discuss the ongoing issue of bovine TB, Sheep Scab, and broadband issues. Members also voiced their concerns about the future of direct payments and life after Brexit.

Aled, his wife Hedydd, son Owain and Aled’s uncle, David Jenkins, are dairy farmers from Penparc situated in south Ceredigion. They live at Trefere Fawr where they milk a herd of 120 Holstein Friesian cows with a spring calving setup.

In January  2018 they started milking at Treclyn Isaf  in Eglwyswrw, where they have set up a 54 point rotary system and are currently milking 280 Holstein Friesian cows under an autumn block calving system.

Along with the new parlour they have built a million gallon slurry lagoon and enough housing for 300 cattle.

FUW Academy to kick start New Year with trip to Lamma Show

The South Wales FUW Academy, comprising the Union’s Gwent, Glamorgan and Brecon and Radnor branches, are putting on a coach trip to the UK’s leading Farm Machinery Equipment and Services Show, which is moving inside to the NEC in Birmingham.

The trip has been arranged for Tuesday 8 January and those joining the event will be leaving from Monmouthshire Livestock Centre at 8am and returning from Birmingham at 5.30pm.

FUW Gwent CEO Glyn Davies said: “We are really excited about this event. It is a unique opportunity to see the very latest in agricultural machinery, equipment and services with more than 800 exhibitors taking part and its free to get in.

"The only cost to members will be the coach, which is £10 per head. I would advise you to book your seat as soon as possible though as it’s looking to be a popular event.”
Please contact the county office on 01873 853280 or Chris Lewis on 07792 232758 to book your place.

Carmarthen farmers to get up to speed on new tax rules

Farmers in Carmarthenshire will have the opportunity to get up to speed with the new tax rules, which come into force on 1 April 2019. The ‘Making tax digital’ scheme will see millions of businesses and self-employed people having to file multiple tax returns each year.

So in order to help those VAT-registered businesses with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold, the Carmarthen branch of the Farmers’ Union of Wales is hosting a special information evening.

Held at Llanarthney village hall on Thursday 3 January 2019, at 8.00pm, those attending the event will hear all about the scheme from Eirian Humphreys of LHP accountants and have the opportunity to ask any questions they may have.

FUW Carmarthen CEO David Waters said: “This new way of filing your taxes has the potential to be a real headache for our farmers, especially as paper returns will no longer be accepted. I hope that many can join us for the evening and get up to speed on the new way filing their tax returns.”

For more information contact the FUW Carmarthen office on 01267 237974.

FUW welcomes QU review outcomes

 

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed the recommendations outlined in the Welsh Government’s Quarantine Unit (QU) review following an announcement made earlier today (Monday 10 December) by the Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths.

QUs were introduced in Wales in September 2017 in an attempt to provide industry with an alternative to the six day standstill rule.

Dr Hazel Wright, FUW Senior Policy Officer, said: “At present, the cost and impractical nature of QU rules represent a major obstacle to uptake and the FUW is therefore pleased that the recommendations made by Welsh Government recognised these issues.”

The Welsh Government QU review identified 9 recommendations for improvement, with 7 of these to be given consideration in the New Year.

These include exploring the possibility of amending the 24 hour reporting rule, allowing greater discretion for QU inspectors when considering compliance with requirements and the possibility of a funding stream to aid livestock keepers in meeting the initial costs of QU certification.

FUW welcomes Welsh Government funding extensions

The Farmers' Union of Wales has welcomed an extension to funding for Glastir agreements, further investment through the Sustainable Production Grant and the continuation of the Farm Business Grant.

FUW welcomes new Welsh Labour Leader

The Farmers’ Union of wales has welcomed the appointment of Mark Drakeford as the new Welsh Labour leader, who will take over as First Minister from Carwyn Jones in the next week.

Following the announcement FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “The Farmers’ Union of Wales has an obligation to work with all political parties and Governments of the day to secure our members’ futures, and to oppose those actions or proposals we believe would be detrimental to our industry.

“Over the years our relations with Welsh Governments have delivered positive results for both farmers and governments as well as for the wider economy of Wales and we very much hope that we will be able to work with Mark Drakeford to continue this record.

“There can be little doubt that the vast majority of the core objectives of the FUW and the Welsh Government have been aligned, not least in terms of protecting Welsh livelihoods, sustaining and creating Welsh jobs, and improving Welsh prosperity and sustainability. We are also closely aligned in terms of the Well-being of Future Generations Act where farming can and does play such an important role.

FUW backs Hilary Benn amendment to withdrawal deal

 

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has thrown its weight behind an amendment to the UK Government’s EU withdrawal deal motion which could prevent the devastation of a hard Brexit.

The amendment, tabled by Labour MP Hilary Benn and signed by both Labour and Conservative MPs, was supported unanimously by FUW standing and county committee chairmen during a special meeting held on Wednesday (December 5).

Mr Benn’s amendment, which declines the EU withdrawal deal put forward by the UK Government, but also rejects the UK leaving the EU without some form of withdrawal agreement and framework for the future UK-EU relationship being in place, is being supported by Plaid Cymru, the Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats, as well as many Conservative and Labour MPs.

Speaking after the meeting, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “Following a lengthy discussion, it was agreed unanimously that Mr Benn’s amendment was the option which minimises the risk of the UK leaving the EU without a deal - something that would be devastating for Welsh farming and the UK as a whole.”

FUW Academy enjoys farm tour and #FarmingMatters discussions

 

The West Wales FUW Academy, including the Ceredigion, Carmarthen and Pembrokeshire branches, recently discussed a host of #FarmingMatters when they met with Leader of the Welsh Conservative party Paul Davies AM.

The meeting was held at Trefochlyd, Croesgoch, Pembrokeshire, and was hosted by Euros Rees, who runs the family farm with his parents Peter and Dilys Rees and his uncle David Rees.

Delegates enjoyed a tour of the farm, which has been run by the family since it was purchased in the late 1930s. Euros is the third generation to farm Trefochlyd, which was primarily a dairy farm for many years but due to pressures in the industry and the need for heavy investment the difficult decision was made to sell the dairy herd.

Alongside his father and uncle, Euros set out to change the farming business and it was decided to go into beef production. Fast forward a few years and the family have built up a commercial suckler herd of about 50 cows.

FUW President raises Brexit deal concerns with Theresa May

 

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has told Prime Minister Theresa May that while the EU Withdrawal deal would give Welsh farmers welcome breathing space, assurances were needed that Welsh agriculture would not lose out under a final deal after 2020.

Speaking after a special meeting with Mrs May at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair on Tuesday (27 November), FUW President Glyn Roberts said:

“The Withdrawal agreement agreed by the Cabinet and the EU contains almost 600 pages of details regarding what would happen during a 21 month period, and those pages contain many important assurances for agriculture and other industries.

“By comparison, the political declaration which is part of the same package and concerns what might happen in the subsequent decades is just 36 pages long, and far more ambiguous in terms of the implications for agriculture and other industries.

BPS announcement welcomed at Winter Fair

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed today’s (Monday, November 26) announcement by Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths that over 85% of farmers’ BPS 2018 claims will be made on the first day of the payment window (Monday, December 3 ), meaning that over £181m will be paid into the bank accounts of over 13,200 Welsh farm businesses. This includes nearly 1,000 farmers who applied for the BPS loan scheme but will now get their BPS on day one.

Glamorgan charity quiz night a great success

A successful charity quiz night, organised by the Farmers’ Union of Wales Glamorgan branch, has raised over £450 for the Union’s charitable causes Alzheimer’s Society Cymru and the Farming Community Network (FCN).

The event was held on Friday 2 November at Heol Y Cyw Rugby Club, where local farmers and friends of the FUW tested their general knowledge. 

FUW Glamorgan CEO Rachel Saunders said: “We had a great night, and I would like to thank all of you for joining us and making it such a success.

“A special thank you of course must go to our Quiz Master Lorraine Howells who kept an eye out for any cheating or foul play and Christine Anstee who prepared both the quiz questions and the buffet food.

“We had the best turn out we’ve ever had and so far have raised £453 but donations are still coming into the office. A big thank you also to all the people that donated money or raffle prizes.”

Farmers urged to get to grips with ‘Making tax digital’ scheme

 

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is urging farmers to get to grips with the ‘Making tax digital’ scheme, which will come into forces in April next year and see millions of businesses and self-employed people having to file multiple tax returns each year.

In order to help those VAT-registered businesses with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold, the Denbigh and Flint branch of the Union has organised a special information evening with Wittingham Riddell accountants.  

The events, which start at 7.30pm, are held on Wednesday, 5 December at Denbigh Golf Club,  Henllan Road, Denbigh LL16 5AA and Monday, 10 December at Lord Moreton, Chirk, St Martin's, Wrexham LL14 5DG.

FUW Denbigh and Flint CEO Mari Dafydd Jones said: “There are many farm businesses who from April next year will be required to use the Making Tax Digital service to keep records digitally and use software to submit their VAT returns. Businesses will no longer be able to submit paper tax returns.

“To help them better understand what is required of them and what tools are available to comply with the new way of submitting your tax return, we have teamed up with the accountants at Wittingham Riddell, who will explain how ‘Making Tax Digital’ will affect you, what benefits ‘Cloud Packages’ offer and they will also give a live demonstration of Xero and QuickBooks. These information evenings are free and open to all - so please don’t miss your chance to get to grips with the new requirements.”

FUW looks forward to Winter Fair

 

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is looking forward to a busy Royal Welsh Winter Fair (Monday 26 - Tuesday 27 November) with plenty of #FarmingMatters chats and a warm welcome to the Union’s stand guaranteed.

Those visiting the FUW stand, which is located next to the main show ring, can enter the annual Christmas hamper competition by filling in a short quarantine unit survey, and staff are on hand to discuss the Union’s response to the Welsh Government ‘Brexit and our Land’ consultation response.

FUW officials will also be on hand to chat about the recently launched FUW-NFU Cymru joint principles paper ‘A Welsh way forward’, aimed at placing Welsh food, farming, livelihoods, communities and our environment on a firm post-Brexit footing.

Speaking ahead of the event, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “Time has flown by and I can hardly believe that the Winter Fair is just around the corner again.

“This fantastic event should help get everyone in the festive spirit and I look forward to catching up with many of you at the FUW stand over a cup of tea and mince pie.

“Our staff and officials are on hand to discuss any questions you may have about #FarmingMatters, including Bovine TB rules, the recently launched industry sheep scab paper, diversification and quarantine units and a warm welcome is guaranteed to all.”

FUW urges shoppers - support your local businesses this Christmas

 

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is urging shoppers to keep their Christmas shopping local to show support for rural and local businesses.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “As we speed towards Christmas, I would like to urge you to think about your rural businesses and see if you can buy local, either for the upcoming Christmas dinner or even gifts for family and friends.

“Speak to your local butcher about meat for the Christmas period and see what your local farm shop has to offer - I promise you will find many of the ingredients you need for your Christmas dinner right on your doorstep.

“There are also plenty of small shops around that offer Welsh craft and locally designed gifts and of course the choice for local food gifts is aplenty. It really is worth having a look. These are small decisions we can make that will have a big impact on our rural economy.

“A pound spent locally will go much further than a pound spent in a chain store and it keeps our rural economies going. By supporting our local businesses we don’t help a CEO buy a third holiday home but we help a local mum and dad put food on the table, a family pay their mortgage, a little girl get those dance lessons and a little boy get his favourite team shirt.”

Time is running out to apply for BPS loans

 

 

Those farmers who have submitted an application for BPS 2018 via the Single Application Form (SAF) 2018 are being reminded by the Farmers’ Union of Wales, that time to apply for a BPS Loan is running out, with the application window closing on Friday, 30 November.

The BPS loan facility has been put in place to help farmers who may not receive their 2018 BPS payment when the payment window opens on 1 December. As this is an opt in scheme, farmers have to apply for the loan through their RPW Online account.

FUW Pembrokeshire CEO Rebecca Voyle said: “It is expected that the loan payments will be made during the week starting 10 December 2018 and all BPS loan payments will be made direct to farmers bank accounts.

“The loan value paid to farmers will be a maximum of 70% of their estimated 2018 BPS payment, which will be based on the area declared for BPS on the SAF 2018 and the number of payment entitlements held on 15 May 2018.

“I would like to urge all eligible farmers to consider making an application before the deadline as there will be no further opportunity to apply for a BPS loan after the 30 November.”

FUW statement in response to Cabinet support for draft EU withdrawal agreement

FUW President Glyn Roberts: “The FUW has been consistent in its view that the best way to minimise disruption and economic damage to agriculture and other industries is to remain within the Common Market and the Customs Union after leaving the EU.

 

“Anything that falls short of that will bring with it obstacles in terms of trade and other issues, with inevitable consequences for our industry and economy.

 

“The draft withdrawal agreement may be a step in the right direction away from the abyss, but until we have been given the opportunity to study the text of the draft agreement it will be impossible to tell whether that step is significant enough to mitigate any of the extreme risks faced by our industry and others.”

 

Welsh Government commitment to partnership working questioned following statement on agricultural practices

Plans to introduce pan-Wales legislation to tackle pollution incidents raises major questions about Welsh Government commitments to work in partnership with other bodies to tackle agricultural pollution, the Farmers’ Union of Wales has said.

 

Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths announced the plans in a written statement on November 14 - but has yet to respond to a 114 page report containing 45 recommendations aimed at tackling agricultural pollution written by industry and government bodies, and which was submitted to her more than six months ago.

 

FUW Land Use and Parliamentary Committee Chairman Tudur Parry said: “Taking all farms into account, pollution incidents involve less than 1% of the farms in Wales, and the farming industry is fully committed to bringing this figure down given its impact.

 

“With a view to doing this, the FUW and a number of other bodies, including Natural Resources Wales, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water, Carmarthenshire Fishermen’s Federation and the Welsh Government themselves, compiled a detailed report in April highlighting actions that should be taken to address such incidents.”

Are you up to speed on VAT changes and Livestock Movement rules?

The Dyffryn Ogwen branch of the Farmers’ Union of Wales is holding a meeting next Wednesday evening, helping farmers get up to speed on the upcoming changes to the VAT submission system and livestock movement rules.

The event takes place on Wednesday 21 November 2018, 7.30pm, at the Bethesda Rugby Club.

Guest speakers on the night are Rhys Harris from Owain Bebb a’i Gwmni, based in Caernarfon, who will be talking about the upcoming changes to the VAT submission system from 1 April 2019.

Janet Phillips, Welsh Assembly Government’s Farm Liaison Officer, will be talking about the livestock movement rules and the new CPH regime, and how they can assist farmers and how farmers can help themselves to comply with those rules.

FUW Dyffryn Ogwen Branch Chairman David Williams said: “This promises to be an informative evening, which will help farmers to understand what they need to do to comply with the upcoming changes, including the new format for keeping VAT records, and it is always good to refresh our memories on the rules associated with livestock movements. I hope many of you can join us and look forward to seeing you on the night.”

Keep silage bales in a safe place, FUW warns

Following reports of washed away silage bales, in the Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire areas of Wales, which have caused problems in rivers, the Farmers’ Union of Wales is urging farmers to keep their silage bales in a safe and secure place.

FUW Pembrokeshire CEO Rebecca Voyle said: “Silage is a premium commodity this year and expensive to replace, in addition, it can cause untold problems if it is not stored securely and finds its way into watercourses during periods of flooding.

“Given that some bales in the counties of Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire have already caused problems by blocking rivers, we would urge farmers to check that their bales are stored securely to avoid any further issues over the coming months.”

 

Farmers warned to check Glastir contract extensions for potential pitfalls

 

Farmers are being reminded by the Farmers’ Union of Wales to cross-check Glastir contract extension offers to avoid financial penalties.

One-year Glastir extensions are currently being offered by the Welsh Government, via RPW Online only, to many whose Glastir contracts conclude at the end of 2018.

“It is important that farmers access their RPW Online account and read their contract extension offer so they fully understand any new obligations or changes to their contracts, as even a minor breach can result in significant penalties,” said FUW policy officer, Charlotte Priddy.

“If they are happy with the offer it is also essential that they accept it within the 21 day deadline.”

FUW members who are unsure of their contractual obligations should contact their local FUW county office for further advice or the Rural Payments Wales Customer Contact centre on 0300 062 5004.

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