With just three months to go until the UK is expected to leave the European Union - with or without a deal - farmers across the country are getting increasingly concerned about their future as food producers.
But it’s not just Brexit that has them worried. Untimely changes to farming policies, which would make life on farm more difficult and introduce more burdensome regulations, also add to their woes.
Livestock farmers Cheryl and Jeff James of Cefn Eithin Farm, Clydach, Swansea, are concerned about the new agricultural pollution regulations due to be introduced in January 2020 as they will adversely affect their farm.
The couple who farm suckler cattle and sheep over 345 acres of owned land, fear that unless the introduction of pan-Wales land management regulations are opposed, the impact on farm businesses like theirs would be significant.
Under the new regulations the James’ would not be able to spread slurry according to the weather and ground conditions and would be restricted by calendar dates stipulated in the closed period under the new regulations. This they say, will incur extra feed costs for the livestock as grass growth would be affected .
And when it comes to extra slurry storage to comply with yet more burdensome rules, the family feel they would not be able to justify or afford the investment for all the required storage equipment on the farm.
“What this means for us is that rearing suckler cows will become unaffordable. Welsh Government should be supporting this type of farming. Suckler herds are a really natural way to rear cattle – the calves spend 10 months with their mother at the farm and then two years on the grassland with no routine antibiotic or hormone treatments. What we produce is natural Welsh beef and these regulations will only push the intensive beef farming systems that we don’t want to see,” added Jeff James.