FUW looks forward to Welsh National Sheep dog trials at Sandilands

The Welsh National sheep dog trials will be held at Sandilands farm, Tywyn, Gwynedd from 24 to 26 August 2021 - and the FUW Ltd. group is excited to join the event on Union member Geraint Owen’s holding. Mr Owen is no stranger to hosting such events, having previously hosted the 2016  International Sheep Dog Trials.

The FUW will be represented by the Meirionnydd branch and FUW Insurance Services Ltd. and all are looking forward to welcoming members and those participating in the Sheep Dog Trials to the stand.

Geraint Owen of Sandilands farm, Tywyn has had close connections with the FUW over many years, and is a former Chairman of the Tywyn Branch. Sandilands is a Beef and Sheep farm with around 2000 breeding ewes and 150 breeding limousines and limousine cross suckler cows.

Nearly 1000 viewers tune in to strength of mind event

Nearly 1000 viewers tuned in to a chat between two world-class extreme sports personalities at a special virtual event organised recently by volunteer led healthy minds organisation in rural Wales. 

The World's Best Machine Shearer, Richard Jones of Glyndyfrdwy and extreme endurance runner and TV presenter, Lowri Morgan shared their experiences with a virtual audience at the hands of experienced broadcaster and host, Nic Parry at the Rhug Estate, recently.

Nerth Dy Ben*, a volunteer-run organisation that aims to give individuals a platform to share positive experiences, in Welsh, organised the event to share the endurance, perseverance and mental strength individuals need to meet extreme physical challenges.

North Wales Police launch new community alert system

Communities of North Wales can now keep up to date with personalised local policing news, following the launch of a brand new free messaging service - North Wales Community Alert.

North Wales Police are the first force in Wales to launch the alert system which has been funded as part of the Home Office Safer Streets Fund. The system is currently used by several other police forces in other parts of the UK and has seen positive results and greater engagement with communities.

North Wales Community Alert is quick and simple to sign up to and gives the public a voice in our neighbourhood policing priorities. The system includes a messaging service that allows users to tell us what really matters to them.

This is also a great platform to gain a real insight into police activity in your area and what we are doing to tackle any issues. We hope this will help residents to feel safer in your home, out in community and whilst at work.

Farming has the answer to climate change and sustainable food production, FUW webinar hears

The conversation around food production and its impact on climate change has gained tremendous momentum. With the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UN FSS) fast approaching and the UK hosting the next major UN climate change summit, COP26, in Glasgow this November, the environment has rapidly returned to being one of the top challenges that we face.

Addressing issues around climate change and food production, the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) hosted a webinar at the virtual Royal Welsh Show to explore how food production and looking after the environment can and do go hand in hand, placing farmers firmly in a position to deliver sustainable development goals. 

The event, which was chaired by FUW Deputy President Ian Rickman, heard from FUW Head of Policy Dr Nick Fenwick; Laura Ryan from the Global Meat Alliance; Hybu Cig Cymru-Meat Promotion Wales, Industry Development and Relations Manager, John Richards; Dairy UK Chief Executive Dr Judith Bryans and Snowdonia beef and sheep farmers FUW President Glyn Roberts and his daughter Beca Glyn.

Opening the webinar, FUW Deputy President Ian Rickman said: “For years the farming industry and our red meat and dairy produce have come under fire from every corner and camp conceivable. The narrative pushed by the anti-livestock lobby however has been steady and is gaining momentum. Decision makers at all government levels, from Welsh Government right up to the United Nations, are listening. And so are our consumers.”

FUW Welcomes Welsh Affairs Committee Recommendations on UK-Australia Trade Deal

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed a report and recommendations by the Welsh Affairs Committee on the implications of a UK Australia Free Trade Agreement for Wales.

The report, published after two evidence sessions held in July, calls for the UK Government to take a number of steps the union says would increase transparency around the deal and its impacts for Wales and clarify what, if any, safeguards would be in place in worst case scenarios that adversely impacted UK agriculture.

Speaking after the report’s publication, FUW Head of Policy Dr Nick Fenwick, who gave evidence to the Committee, said: “We wrote to the committee in June suggesting that such an inquiry takes place, and welcome the recommendations which, if accepted by the UK Government, would mark a small step towards achieving transparency and a sensible position on the UK-Australia trade deal.” 

Devastating impact of vast tree plantation plans on rural communities highlighted in meeting with Aberconwy MP

The devastating impacts vast tree plantation plans can have on rural communities and Welsh culture were highlighted in a recent meeting between Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) members and Aberconwy MP Robin Millar.  

Hosting the meeting at their farm at Llechwedd Hafod in Cwm Penmachno were FUW Caernarfonshire County Executive Committee member Dafydd Gwyndaf and his wife Anwen. Mr Gwyndaf gave a presentation on how the Forestry Commission, as it was previously known, bought many of the farms on one side of the valley and planted trees on the land from the 1940’s to the 1960’s .  

“Afforestation has resulted in too many people leaving the area and has resulted in over 30% of the houses in the area being turned into second homes or AirBnB. It is having a detrimental effect on the community, it’s culture and consequently the Welsh language. The depopulation of Cwm Penmachno and Penmachno villages is living proof of the result of large-scale afforestation and we don’t want to see the same happening to other communities,” said Mr Gwyndaf. 

Fifth generation Anglesey farmer highlights ‘public goods’ concerns on farm with local Member of the Senedd

Anglesey beef and sheep farmer Gareth Thomas and Farmers’ Union of Wales officials have highlighted industry concerns, including climate change and future agricultural policies, at a recent meeting with local Member of the Senedd, Rhun ap Iorwerth. Gareth is the fifth generation to farm at Tregynrig Fawr, Cemaes Bay, Anglesey, a 620 acre holding. The family finishes off over 600 beef cattle annually and keep a flock of 200 sheep. All beef and lamb are sold to Morrisons. The family have also recently diversified into self-catering holiday accommodation.

The message on the day was clear - farmers want to work with the Government and all political parties to achieve the best possible outcome for the sector, the wider rural economy and the environment.

Speaking during the farm walk, Gareth Thomas said: “Welsh farmers have delivered positive environmental outcomes for the nation for centuries, and must be fairly rewarded for what they have already delivered, continue to deliver and will deliver in the future. Future targets must work alongside sustainable and viable food producing businesses, not against them, to ensure the environment continues to be managed appropriately.”

FUW highlights critical issues during virtual Royal Welsh Show

The Farmers’ Union of Wales and FUW Insurance Services Ltd. highlighted and discussed the most critical issues affecting the agricultural industry through a series of webinars at the virtual Royal Welsh Show. 

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “Last week was a busy one for the FUW team and we had an excellent presence at the virtual Royal Welsh Show. We hosted a variety of webinars ranging from the rural housing crisis, climate change, mental health, digital connectivity and farm safety - each and every one of them touched on crucially important issues for our industry.

“If you weren’t able to join them during the show week, they are available for you to watch in the members section of the FUW website and of course the Royal Welsh show events pages. I would like to thank all of our speakers for their excellent contributions and of course also the Royal Welsh Show for providing the platform so we could, against the odds, still bring a virtual show to everyone.”

Welsh and UK Governments must implement range of measures to tackle rural housing crisis and rural ‘clearances’ say FUW rural housing webinar speakers

During a special FUW webinar held during the virtual Royal Welsh show speakers from England and Wales highlighted a range of actions the Welsh and UK Government should take to tackle the acute rural housing crisis.

The webinar, which was chaired by Farmers Guardian Chief Reporter Abi Kay, heard from Cumbria MP Tim Farron; Gwynedd County Council Leader Dyfrig Siencyn and Nefyn Town Council leader Rhys Tudur.

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated pressures on rural housing across the UK, causing rapid house-price inflation and placing rural houses even further beyond the financial reach of coastal and agricultural communities.

Former Liberal Democrat party leader Tim Farron told the webinar: “We can’t deny the evidence of our eyes, that excessive second home ownership in a community kills the community. I’ve talked to a range of estate agents around Cumbria, the best guess is something like 60-65% on average to up to 80% of all house sales in the last 15 months have been to the second home market.

Montgomeryshire farmers outline free trade deal concerns in meeting with Minister

Farmers from Montgomeryshire and Farmers’ Union of Wales officials have met with local MP Craig Williams and UK Minister for Trade Policy Greg Hands to reinforce the industry's concerns about the free trade deal with Australia. 

Speaking after the virtual meeting on Monday 19 July , FUW Montgomeryshire Livestock, Wool and Marts committee delegate Mark Williams said: “I thank both Craig Williams and Greg Hands for discussing our concerns around the free trade deal with Australia. It was a great opportunity for our members to reiterate our concerns very clearly.” 

Australian farms, Union officials highlighted, benefit from significant advantages in terms of economies of scale: The average farm size in Australia is 10,700 acres compared with an average Welsh farm size of 125 acres, while 65% of Australian cattle farms have between 100 and 400 head of cattle, and farms of over 5,400 head of cattle account for 30% of the country's beef cattle. This compares to an average Welsh herd size of around 30.

Pembrokeshire farming family embrace wildlife conservation and food production

Farming has a key role to play in looking after the environment and combating climate change but the production of food must not be excluded from the conversation, says Pembrokeshire beef, sheep and arable farmer Jayne Richards.

Jayne, who farms with her parents Michael and Margaret and husband Ali at Jordanston Farm, St Mary’s Park, Jordanston, just outside of Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, has no doubt that if it weren’t for small family farms up and down the country the environment would suffer. The aesthetic look of the Welsh countryside would change dramatically, with rural communities being lost. 

However, the family are clear that food production and the care of the environment both have a critical role to play and one can’t function without the other.

The 350 acre farm, which is in the Glastir scheme, is home to 400 breeding ewes and 140 beef cattle, as well as a small suckler herd. The family keep mostly Welsh half bred ewes and breed their own Texel rams and replacement ewes. They also keep some store lambs in the autumn and winter to finish on root crops. 

Two challenges, two athletes drawing from ONE inner strength

As a major event in the farming calendar leaves a gaping hole for social gatherings this week (RWAS), one volunteer led healthy minds organisation in rural Wales will introduce two world class extreme sport personalities to an on-line event to inspire the farming community.

Number 1 World Machine Shearing titleholder, Richard Jones from Glyndyfrdwy and world-class extreme endurance runner and TV presenter, Lowri Morgan joins experienced broadcaster Nic Parry at Rhug Estate to share the endurance, resilience and mental strength needed to achieve these physical challenges.

The Welsh on-line event, which begins at 8pm, this Wednesday 21 July is organised by Nerth Dy Ben*, a volunteer-run organisation that aims to give individuals a platform to share positive experiences, in Welsh, about living and working in rural Wales.

Pembrokeshire farmers put spotlight on trade deals and climate change in discussions with local MP

Farmers from Pembrokeshire have put the spotlight on industry concerns around the free trade deal with Australia and climate change when they met with local MP Stephen Crabb. Hosting the visit was Farmers’ Union of Wales Pembrokeshire County Vice chairman Gerwyn Williams, who farms at Upper Swmbarch, Letterston near Haverfordwest.

The farm extends to approximately 94 acres, with the majority of the land rented from Pembrokeshire County Council, and 3.5 acres owned. Upper Swmbarch is home to a 50 Suckler cow herd, made up of Limousin and British Blue cows. The calves are reared with some sold as stores, some fattened and some kept as replacements. Gerwyn Williams keeps a closed herd and uses AI. Tack sheep are kept on the land in the winter.  The land is mainly down to grass, but around 3 hectares of arable silage and 3 hectares of forage rape are grown each year to feed the livestock.

The farm has participated in the Glastir Small Grants scheme, which included planting new hedgerows in a number of locations across the farm and the holding has also previously participated in the Preseli ESA scheme, Tir Gofal and Glastir Entry.

Leading the discussions on the farm walk, Mr Williams said: “We are very concerned about the free trade deal with Australia. There will be major negative impacts for our farmers in Wales. It is absolutely essential that the UK Government ensures there are break clauses in the deal to allow for it to be reviewed. We need the UK Government to stand with the farming sector and help develop export opportunities for our farmers here at home.”

Farm safety - is it worth taking the risk?

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) and FUW Insurance Services Ltd. are urging the farming community to carefully consider the risks on farms as figures released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) point to an increase in farm fatalities over the last year.

According to provisional data released by the HSE, agriculture, forestry and fishing  recorded 34 fatal injuries in 2020/21, an increase of 13 from the  21 fatalities recorded the previous year. The five-year average for fatal injuries in the sector now stands at  28.

Included in these fatalities were seven fatal deaths in Wales within agriculture, forestry and fishing in 2020/21.  The report highlights that, taking account of differing employment levels between sectors, the rate of fatal injury per 100,000 workers is greatest in agriculture, forestry and fishing and waste and recycling.

A statement from the Farmers’ Union of Wales in memory of Lord Elystan Morgan

It was with great sadness that the Farmers’ Union of Wales was informed of the death of Lord Elystan Morgan. Elystan Morgan's contribution has been significant in the context of Wales, the Welsh language, agriculture and, of course, Cardiganshire. As officials and members of the Union we are proud of this opportunity to pay tribute to one of the great political figures in Wales over the last half a century.

Naturally, we could take note of his Parliamentary career, whether as a Member of Parliament for Cardiganshire between 1966 and 1974 and his service in the House of Lords over a period of nearly forty years between 1981 and 2020. We could also mention his tireless work in leading the 1979 devolution campaign and his important contribution, quietly and effectively to the strengthening of the devolution settlement following the 1997 vote. In addition, we could also discuss his superb career in law and as a very respected Judge for a lengthy period of time. As a Union we are proud to note his sincere contribution to Wales, the countryside and his lifelong commitment to the Welsh language.

As a politician Elystan Morgan had an innate understanding and sympathy for the demands of agriculture and rural Wales which was an important part of his work as a Member of Parliament for his home county. He gave a similar commitment during his time in the House of Lords where he was willing to consistently defend the interests of the countryside and Wales. He was a regular attendee of the annual dinner held by the Union at the House of Lords and at the events held in the Senedd to mark the Union’s farmhouse breakfast week. These events celebrated the uniqueness of rural Wales whilst also raising awareness of the demands of agriculture among politicians. Elystan Morgan's presence ensured that the Union's messages were heard and he was a firm champion on the red benches.

Protect your business, Protect your family - farm safety under the spotlight at Royal Welsh Show

Safety on farms and how farmers can protect themselves and their business will be under the spotlight at an upcoming webinar, hosted by FUW Insurance Services Ltd at the virtual Royal Welsh Show. The event, which is open to all, takes place on Wednesday 21 July at 10am via Zoom and will be hosted on the Royal Welsh Show event website.

Keynote speakers on the day include Tony Succamore,Sales and Operations Director of FUW Insurance Services Ltd; Georgina Davis, Business Development Manager (Midlands) at British Engineering Services; Health and Safety Executive representative Christopher Maher and Farm safety expert and instructor Brian Rees. Chairing the webinar is FUW Deputy President and FUW Insurance Services Ltd. board member Ian Rickman.

Farmers raise critical industry concerns with Member of the Senedd for Clwyd South

Farmers from Meirionnydd have raised critical concerns of the industry with Member of the Senedd, Ken Skates, at a recent farm visit with Farmers’ Union of Wales Meirionnydd County Chairman Edwin Jones and Union officials.

The event which was hosted by Mr Jones and his wife Eirian, at Ty Mawr, Carrog, Corwen, Denbighshire, provided an opportunity to see the farm, which stretches from the banks of the river Dee to approximately 1500 feet above sea level, and for members to highlight and discuss issues around climate change, future farm policies and the agricultural water pollution regulations. 

The typical family farm, which extends to 149 hectares and is mostly hill and upland, is home to 730 Welsh Mountain ewes and 190 shearlings. 

Edwin Jones was elected Meirionnydd FUW Branch Chair in June 2021 and is a former Assistant Headmaster at Ysgol Maes Garmon, Yr Wyddgrug. His wife Eirian is also a former Head of Welsh and Drama at the school. Edwin and Eirian have farmed at Tymawr since 2002, with Eirian being brought up at the farm. Both retired from their teaching posts in 2012.

The environment and our management of it is just as central to our existence and our aims as food production, says Meirionnydd farmer

A short drive from Dolgellau, Meirionnydd, just off the main road is Cae Coch farm, Rhydymain, home of well-known TV presenter and farming champion Alun Edwards. Driving up a short farm track, it is impossible not to notice how green it is here. 

The eye is drawn up to the surrounding hills, the trees envelope the interspersed small fields, none of which are bigger than 5 acres. The fields here are not square and there is a mosaic of them. Some are scattered with a modicum of animals - Welsh Black cattle and their calves are resting, chewing the cud; a few sheep are visible on the mountain ridges. 

It is obvious that this land is being looked after by someone. There are hay fields with flowers in them, buttercups and daisies. The land is not pushed here and there are docks, thistles and dandelions. The fields have hedges and stone walls as borders, and have been here since the middle ages. 

Moving up through the land, it’s sloping and north facing, shrub land or ffridd land as it's called here is followed by unimproved land that includes gorse. There is purple heather on a crested flat and then you get to the white mountain - where you find sedge grasses and the sheep graze in the summer. 

Wherever you look it feels like a combination of wild and managed land. 

FUW looks forward to virtual Royal Welsh show

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is looking forward to a busy virtual Royal Welsh Show week and is hosting a variety of webinars discussing rural housing, climate change, mental health and the future of digital connectivity for Wales.

Speaking ahead of the event, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “We had hoped to be able to be at the showground in person this year, like many others. The Royal Welsh show remains a pinnacle event in our farming calendar and whilst we can’t meet face to face, we are excited to discuss some of the most critical issues facing our industry virtually once again. I hope many of you will be able to join us for these events.”

In addition to the webinars, the Union is also launching a lobbying tool through its website, allowing members and the public to write to their elected representatives highlighting their grave concerns about the Free Trade Deal with Australia. 

Tackling the Rural Housing Crisis:

The FUW wrote to the Welsh Government twelve months ago calling for action to prevent an inevitable increase in pressure on rural housing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, since which the issue has become a reality and hit the national headlines. 

Pembrokeshire farmers raise industry concerns with local Member of the Senedd

Pembrokeshire Farmers’ Union of Wales county officials recently met with their local Member of the Senedd, Paul Davies, at a farm visit hosted by organic dairy farmers Dai, Sharon and Llŷr Miles, at their farm Beudy Bach, Haverfordwest. The main concerns raised were the current Control of Agricultural Pollution Regulations and bovine TB - issues which are making farming unsustainable for many in the county and across Wales.

The business was started by Dai and Sharron in 1997 when they moved to Pembrokeshire taking on the tenancy of Barnsley Farm, a 143 acres farm. At the time it was a stock/arable unit which they converted into an organic dairy unit starting with 33 cows and leased milk quota. 

In 2001 they rented a further 90 acres of pasture land and then in 2005 they rented the neighbouring farm within the same estate, Beudy Bach. In 2018 they had the opportunity to purchase Beudy Bach from the estate and installed a modern robotic milking system on the holding. Llyr joined the business after returning from Aberystwyth University where he studied agriculture. 

Nature conservation is at the heart of Montgomeryshire beef and sheep farm

Nature, conservation and food production must and can go hand in hand, according to Montgomeryshire beef and sheep farmer Carwyn Jones. He farms at Ty Mawr, Dolanog in the Vyrnwy valley about 14 miles from Welshpool and 6 miles from lake Vyrnwy. The 160 acre beef and sheep farm has been in the family for many generations, with Carwyn taking over full management of the holding from his uncle in 2002. 

Describing the land he says: “Most of the land here is pretty steep. There isn’t much soil, about 2 inches of soil and 2 miles of rock. So I have to manage that carefully. We have a lot of woodland surrounding the farm and I also look after about 30 acres of our own woodland on the farm. There is such a great variety of bird species and wildlife around and I firmly believe that’s because of how this land is managed.” 

A champion hedgelayer, Carwyn has established over a mile of hedgerows alongside the farm on each side of the track and has recently planted over 600 new hedging plants. “All in all I look after about 4 miles of hedges on the farm land. I’ve always been a fan of hedges and trees. For me, I do what I do in terms of nature and conservation work for the love of doing it. I’m mad about hedges and the benefits it brings to the land and wildlife.” 

Steel tariff decision prompts call for food and farming protection

The Farmers’ Union of Wales says the common sense decision to prolong import limits on steel products should trigger somber reflection over the impact of trade deals that open UK markets up to cheap food imports.

The UK Government announced on Wednesday (30th June) that it would extend measures that defend the steel industry against cheap imports of certain types of steel, particularly from China.

The steel industry had described the original plan to remove tariffs as “utter madness”, warning that import surges would be devastating for the industry in the UK.

Referring to the trade deal recently agreed in principle with Australia and plans to sign similar deals with other countries and trading blocs, FUW President Glyn Roberts said “The phrase ‘utter madness’ also applies to moves that would open up our market to cheap food produced to lower standards.

“Such deals would be particularly devastating for rural areas where jobs relating to farming and agricultural supply chains make up a large proportion of the workforce and an invaluable contribution to our society and culture.”

Mr Roberts said that such trade deals also threatened the UK’s food security.

North Wales farmers raise livestock worrying with local MP

The Farmers’ Union of Wales Caernarfon Branch has raised the issue of livestock worrying and dog attacks with Aberconwy MP Robin Millar following an increase of incidents in recent weeks. Farmers who keep sheep on the Carneddau range in Caernarfonshire have lost close to 20 sheep in recent weeks due to attacks by dogs, the MP heard.

Henry Williams of Gwern Gof Isaf, Capel Curig has lost sheep due to dog attacks, as has Elfed Jackson from Braich Tŷ Du, Nant Ffrancon near Bethesda. 

Mr Jackson noted: “People just don’t realise the stress and heartache such incidents causes us. And even worse is the attitude of many dog owners who are in denial that their dog would do such a thing. I’ve returned a couple of dogs to their owners recently and just about managed to get a “sorry” from them. They need to understand the full implications of their dog not being under control when walking on the open mountains like we have here.”

Henry Williams added: “It breaks our hearts to have to see the result of an attack by dogs. It’s bad enough when one or two have suffered, but when it gets into double figures it’s even worse. Added to that stress is then the need to carry the carcasses down from the mountain by hand, which is no easy task when you have the local authority insisting that they are cleared immediately. I’m not sure if they realise what they are actually asking us to do.”

New team at the helm for FUW Gwent and Glamorgan

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has appointed a new County Executive Officer and Deputy County Executive Officer to serve the members in the the counties of Gwent and Glamorgan.

Sharon Pritchard joins the team as County Executive Officer, bringing with her a significant background in agriculture having been involved on the family farm in Talgarth, Brecon and she also has over twenty years of experience working with McCartneys in Brecon and Builth.

Helen Thomas, who has been appointed as Deputy County Executive Officer, has been a loyal and respected part of the Gwent FUW team for 14 years and has also worked with members in Glamorgan in her previous role as an administrative assistant with the Union.

Speaking about the appointments, FUW Group Managing Director Guto Bebb said: “We have made two excellent appointments to serve members in the counties of Gwent and Glamorgan. Both Sharon and Helen come with a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the agriculture sector and I have no doubt that members in both counties will be well looked after by the new team.”

Snowdonia beef and sheep farming father and daughter team highlight importance of carbon audits on farm

Dylasau Uchaf, a National Trust tenant farm, is home to the Roberts family. Glyn and his daughter Beca keep a watchful eye on the land and livestock here in the Eidda valley, hidden away between the upper Conwy and the Machno. The sheep and beef farm is about 4 miles from Betws y Coed and 3 miles from Ysbyty Ifan. 

A lot has changed up here in the last 5 years, says Glyn Roberts, who takes his responsibility of producing food and looking after the land seriously. Working with Bangor University and Hybu Cig Cymru-Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) a carbon audit was carried out on the farm highlighting where the business is doing well and where there is room for improvement when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. 

Using the result of the carbon audit the family hopes to be in a better position to highlight areas of improvements and lower their carbon footprint by increasing efficiency, lowering feed cost and increasing growth rate, less days to slaughter, reduced burden of disease, reducing the use of fertilizer by knowing the farm's needs and also using less fuel, are all things that are now being taken into consideration.

Pembrokeshire dairy farming family say NVZ regulations leave no choice but to reduce herd

Pembrokeshire husband and wife team Jeff and Sarah Wheeler, who farm at Clyngwyn, Efailwen, Clynderwen, feel the current Control of Agricultural Pollution Regulations are going to make their business unviable and are asking the Welsh Government to take a hard look at what they’re asking the industry to do. The third generation to farm here, the couple milk150 cows on a spring calving system, looking after 195 acres which is down to grass land (of which 35 acres is rented), plus 50 acres of woodland. 

Under current NVZ regulations in other UK and EU Nations and previous regulations in Wales, farmers with more than 80% of their holding designated as grassland had the ability to apply for a derogation to increase the annual livestock manure Nitrate whole farm limit from 170kg N per ha to 250kg N per ha.

Despite the same option being included in Welsh Government’s draft Water Resources regulations published in 2020, it was omitted from the regulations before being laid in front of the Senedd in 2021 without any form of warning or explanation. 

Jeff says: “We’ve got enough storage for slurry but the stocking rates will hit us badly. They’ve brought in the nitrate limit, which wasn’t in the initial 'draft regulation, it came out of the blue. Any other country with such regulations has a derogation on the nitrate limit. If you're 80% down to grassland, which we are, you can keep more stock in other countries. Why is that not the case here now?”

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/