Importance of protecting your livestock with insurance highlighted at FUW webinar

The importance of protecting livestock assets on farms with the right insurance policy was highlighted at a recent livestock worrying webinar, hosted by the Farmers’ Union of Wales and Wales YFC.

FUW Insurance Services Account Executive Gwenno Davies told delegates that a minor addition to existing sheep cover could cost as little as £3 a year and cover the financial burden of losses incurred due to a livestock attack. 

“Whilst an insurance policy for such incidents doesn’t take away the heartache of the incident or the stress of dealing with the situation, knowing that it won’t negatively impact you financially can be a relief. All farm businesses are different so a client would need to check their insurance policy specifically. But to add the extra cover for such a low cost, should be considered especially for that piece of mind,” said Gwenno Davies. 

Proposed changes to livestock worrying laws and increased used of technology gives hope to farmers

Farmers in Wales, who are frustrated with ongoing livestock attacks heard what proposed changes to the law could help police forces across England and Wales deal with such incidents more effectively and deter irresponsible dog owners from causing thousands of pounds worth of damage to the livestock industry. 

Speaking at a livestock worrying information webinar, jointly hosted by the Farmers’ Union of Wales and Wales YFC, North Wales Police Rural Crime Team Manager and Chair of the NPCC (National Police Chiefs Council) Livestock Offences group Rob Taylor explained The Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 is weak and no longer serves its purpose. 

“The Act dates from the early 1950’s when both farming and policing were practiced differently. We can all agree that both occupations have evolved since then and the act does not reflect modern practices. For example in 2021, the Act doesn’t allow the police to obtain DNA, it doesn’t allow us to prosecute people whose dogs have attacked Alpacas and Llamas, it doesn’t allow us to prosecute if the attack happened on land that’s not agricultural land, we don’t have an option of banning orders. If a dog is subject of a control or destruction order at court, the 1953 Act does not have any powers written into it for the court to refer to and use. The court also has to borrow laws from  an old Victorian civil act namely the Dogs Act 1871, and this can cause confusion for both Police and court alike,” he said. 

Water Regulations vote a betrayal of Welsh farming

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has expressed its bitter disappointment with Senedd Members who failed to support a motion to annul the Water Resources (Control of Agricultural Pollution) (Wales) Regulations 2021 after the motion was defeated by 30 votes to 27.

Responding to the news, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “The decision to cut and paste outdated thirty year old EU legislation designed to tackle problems in intensively farmed areas, which has been shown to be ineffective and in many areas make matters worse, is itself a major concern for all those who understand the purpose of Welsh devolution.

"It is therefore an additional bitter blow to see a majority of Senedd members voting to support such a lazy, unimaginative and economically and environmentally damaging approach which makes a mockery of devolution and our desire to make Wales a better place.

“It  marks the Welsh Government hitting rock-bottom on so many levels - not least in terms of misleading the Senedd by breaking the repeated promise not to bring forward legislation until after the coronavirus pandemic, and making false claims about agricultural pollution getting worse in recent years when incidences have fallen.”

Support for Wales Young Farmers vital, Union President tells Welsh Labour party conference

Farmers’ Union of Wales President Glyn Roberts has stressed the importance of the Wales YFC at the virtual Welsh Labour Party Spring Conference. Addressing a fringe meeting on Friday, February 26, with Jeremy Miles, the Union President stressed that whilst financial support for the Urdd was welcome, the Young Farmers clubs in Wales must not be left out. 

Speaking after the event, he said: “Whilst we welcome and appreciate the funding made available for the Urdd as part of the Welsh Government ‘recover and rebuild’ strategy, our young farmers clubs across Wales must not be left out. Indeed they deserve to be recognised for their efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic in keeping spirits high among their members through all the virtual events and meetings they have held.”

The FUW has previously voiced its disappointment at funding cuts made by councils in Wales to Young Farmer Clubs and Mr Roberts was clear that the Wales YFC must not be left behind as the country rebuilds itself after Covid.

Water regulations will kill off Welsh family dairy farms and boost industrial scale dairy production says FUW dairy committee

The Farmers’ Union of Wales’ Milk and Dairy Produce committee says tenants, young farmers, new entrants and small and medium family farms will go out of business in huge numbers as a result of new water regulations, while industrial scale dairy farming will be boosted. The conclusion came during a virtual meeting of the union’s Milk and Dairy Produce Committee on Wednesday 24 February.

The Water Resources (Control of Agricultural Pollution) (Wales) Regulations 2021 - which are copied from decades old EU Nitrate Vulnerable Zone regulations - were placed before the Senedd on 27 January. Shadow environment and rural affairs minister Llyr Gruffydd has tabled a Senedd debate proposing that the regulations be annulled, to be held on March 3.

Speaking after the meeting, FUW Milk and Dairy Produce committee Chairman Dai Miles said: “These regulations will have massive financial and production impacts for dairy farms of all size and type, but the overwhelming view of the committee was that it will be tenants and the small and medium family dairy farms that will be most likely to go out of production as a result of these regulations. 

FUW Livestock, Wool and Marts and Hill Farming Committee’s highlight animal welfare in transport consultation concerns

At a recent virtual joint meeting of the Farmers’ Union of Wales’ Livestock, Wool and Marts, and Hill Farming and Marginal Land Committees, delegates discussed a Welsh Government and Defra consultation on ending live animal exports for slaughter and introducing restrictions on transporting animals. The consultation paper has already been considered by the Union’s twelve County Executive Committees.

Delegates were of the view that Welsh farmers should not be discriminated against by a ban on exports when those in other countries and around the world are free to move animals in ways which fall well below the high standards we have in the UK.

FUW Livestock, Wool and Marts Committee chairman Morgan Jones-Parry said: “The live export issue has been a hot topic for many years, and where animals from any country are transported in ways which do not meet UK and EU rules (which are the highest in the world), causing suffering, this is clearly unacceptable.

Do you know what to do when it comes to livestock worrying on your land - FUW hosts information webinar

The Farmers’ Union of Wales, jointly with Wales YFC and FUW Insurance Services , are hosting a livestock worrying webinar to address the on-going livestock worrying incidents across Wales. 

The webinar, which is open to all FUW, Wales YFC members and FUWIS customers, will take place on Thursday 25 February at 7pm via Zoom.

The webinar will hear from Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn, North Wales Police Rural Crime Team Manager and Chair of the NPCC (National Police Chiefs Council) Livestock Offences group Rob Taylor and PC Dave Allen, North Wales Police Rural Crime Team and secretary of the NPCC Livestock Offences Group, FUWIS Account Executive Gwenno Davies, Ceredigion livestock farmer Wyn Evans and Wales YFC Rural Affairs Chairman Clare James will be chairing the Q&A session.

Montgomeryshire farmers discuss Brexit impact on meat exporters with local MP

Farmers’ Union of Wales members from Montgomeryshire, as well as the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) have met with local MP Craig Williams to discuss the impact Brexit is having on meat exports and highlighted the need to address non-tariff barriers that are causing major problems for exporters.

Mr Williams, a member of the International Trade Committee, heard that many if not most exporters kept consignments at minimum levels or decided not to export at all in the first weeks of January, but that there were nevertheless a range of significant problems for most if not all food sectors, despite volumes being much lower than average.  

Outlining the problems exporters currently face, Chief Executive Officer at BMPA Nick Allen said: “For our exports there are delays, hick-ups and it’s not flowing in the amounts we want. There are too many moving parts to the process and things change on a daily basis.”

The MP further heard that in terms of animal products the UK is only sending 30 - 40% of what would normally be exported and it’s not adding much value, especially as many are sending smaller loads or not sending at all. 

Welsh farming organisations unite in joint letter to Minister outlining future policy concerns

The Welsh farming unions and Wales YFC have written to the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs to express concerns around the future direction of Welsh agricultural policy, following the publication of the Agriculture (Wales) White Paper.

In a show of unity, NFU Cymru, the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) and Wales YFC have called upon the Minister, Lesley Griffiths MS, to pause and reconsider what a future policy should deliver for the people of Wales. The three organisations have raised concerns that little has changed over three consultation processes and there remains a lack of ambition for the future of farming in Wales. 

The letter states ‘the direction of travel proposed does not appear to reflect the uniqueness of Welsh farming, built around family farms delivering for our economy, our landscape, language and culture.  Instead, and most worryingly, it looks as though we are implementing a policy based on a very narrow definition of public goods, policy thinking very similar to what we have seen emanate from elsewhere, rather than a policy ‘Made in Wales’.’ 

FUW puts in the miles for charity

During the month of January staff from the Farmers’ Union of Wales and FUW Insurance Services Ltd. joined teams from five nations to inspire rural communities to take to the countryside to help improve their mental health. 

The challenge, #Run1000, called on people to join either – England, Ireland, Scotland, or Wales and the rest of the world, to see which team could run or walk 1,000 miles first. The winner of the challenge to reach the 1000 milestone was Wales and the FUW Ltd. group team contributed a total of 1,156 miles to the overall 64,785 miles recorded across all teams around the world.

FUW appoints Group Managing Director

The FUW is pleased to announce a new role – FUW (Farmers’ Union of Wales) Group Managing Director, who will oversee the Union’s work on behalf of the agricultural industry and its successful insurance services, FUWIS (Farmers’ Union of Wales Insurance Services).

Following an appointment process, jointly administered by FUW and FUIWS, Guto Bebb was appointed to the post. Guto Bebb has been the Managing Director of FUWIS since April 2020.

Mr Bebb, who lives in Caernarfon, is the ex-MP for Aberconwy, former Under Secretary of State for Wales, and former Procurement Minister with the Ministry of Defence.  As a result, he is very familiar with the world of public policy.  

Before commencing his political career, Mr Bebb was a business consultant and company director.  His commercial experience stood him in good stead as a member of the Public Accounts Committee at Westminster, and in managing the multi-million procurement budget of the Defence Ministry.

Beware of scams and cold callers, FUW warns members

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is urging members to be aware of scams and cold callers, as recent incidents have seen an increase. 

FUW Carmarthen County Executive Officer David Waters said: “We have received a few reports from members recently that they have been targeted by cold callers and scammers, frequently regarding new utility contracts.

“These phone calls and emails, which often end up with the person agreeing to a new contract, are legally binding in many cases and very difficult to get out of. I urge members to remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Mr Waters added that farms are being targeted because often individuals are isolated and are viewed as being vulnerable and therefore more likely to fall foul of fraud. A large proportion of fraud crimes involve criminal gangs targeting specific groups, including the agricultural community.

Never make any rushed decisions and don’t feel pressured into making a decision on the spot.  If, for example, a telephone caller is genuine they will allow you time to think about things and for you to be able to call them back later or review their offer in writing.

“The people who carry out these scams are convincing, it is what they do for a day job.  But there is assistance out there from Trading Standards and the police. Please remember that it is important to report scams, no matter how small, so that they can be fully investigated and to ensure that support is given to the individuals concerned,” he added.

FUW’s virtual breakfast week a success

The virtual farmhouse breakfast week (18-24 January), organised by the Farmers’ Union of Wales has been a roaring success. The campaign didn’t just raise the profile of local food, its  producers and retailers but vital funds for the DPJ Foundation.

Under normal circumstances the FUW would have held breakfast events across Wales in village halls, cafes, marts and farmhouse kitchens, however the on-going Covid-19 lockdown meant a change of plan. 

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “I would like to thank each and every single one of you who has helped make this virtual campaign a roaring success. We have seen hundreds of you enjoy breakfast, sourced locally, at home with your families and our retailers and farmers were instrumental in their involvement and provided excellent food from Wales.”

Draconian water quality legislation makes a mockery of devolution says FUW

The Farmers' Union of Wales says Welsh Government water quality legislation announced today (January 27) makes a mockery of devolution by failing to address Welsh concerns and needs.

The legislation will mean the phasing across Wales of what are effectively EU rules currently in place in intensively farmed areas -  designate the whole of Wales as an EU Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ), an area more than forty times bigger than the current Welsh NVZ area, and eleven times bigger than what was recommended by NRW.

FUW president Glyn Roberts said: "The blank sheet of devolution and Brexit allows Welsh Government to design a bespoke system which would target problem areas without being disproportionate and costing the farming industry hundreds of millions - including in areas where there are no problems.

Montgomeryshire FUW to raise concerns over Brexit impact on exports with MP

Members of Montgomeryshire FUW are to meet virtually with MP Craig Williams to raise concerns about the threat that non-tariff barriers represent to a major slaughterhouse in the constituency and the industry as a whole.

Meat processing plant Randall Parker Foods, near Llanidloes, which processes a million lambs a year - half of which are exported to the European Union - last week warned that it may lose a third of its 150 workers if the extra cost and paperwork of selling meat into the EU under the new post-Brexit trading arrangements cannot be overcome.

General License to control wild birds lawful but final hurdle not yet cleared, FUW warns

The FUW breathed a sigh of relief after Natural Resources Wales successfully defended General Licences to control certain wild birds in the High Court after campaigning body Wild Justice brought a legal challenge. The ruling means that the challenged General Licences can continue to be used to control certain wild bird species. The General Licences are available for the purpose of preventing serious damage or disease to crops or livestock, protecting public health and conserving certain species of wild birds. 

FUW anger as lack of maintenance work results in flooding again

Farmers’ Union of Wales members in the northern area of Meirionnydd have expressed deep anger and frustration following the flooding of several hundred acres of land at Llanfrothen near Porthmadog over recent days.  The flooding occurred as a result of the Afon Croesor overflowing once again to the nearby Internal Drainage District causing tremendous damage to the best agricultural land in the area. 

The problem has been brought to the attention of Natural Resources Wales (NRW) on several occasions, and site meetings were held with NRW staff following flooding in July 2020. This included a meeting on site with Liz Saville Roberts MP. 

FUW Meirionnydd County Executive Officer Huw Jones said: “The Afon Croesor has the status of ‘main river’ and is the responsibility of NRW. During our meetings in August 2020, the NRW officers were shown trees and overhanging branches which impede the flow of the river, and where maintenance work is urgently required.  We also discussed the clear need to dredge parts of the river. Flood banks in urgent need of repairs were also shown, with a request that a detailed inspection is carried out as soon as possible, with a view to making repairs as soon as possible. We gave a clear warning that doing nothing was not an option. 

Big Farmland Bird Count 2021 - Help us showcase how bio-diverse Wales is, FUW encourages

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is encouraging farmers in Wales to get behind the Big Farmland Bird Count 2021, by spending 30 minutes recording the farmland birds they see on their land. The annual UK wide count, run by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), is scheduled for the 5 – 14 February 2021.

To help farmers understand what’s involved, the Union is hosting a joint webinar with the GWCT on Monday, 1 February, at 7pm via Zoom. The webinar is free and open to all and will hear from FUW President Glyn Roberts, FUW member John Yeomans  and Matthew Goodall and Lee Oliver from the GWCT, who will be discussing the birds that we might see and suggest some ideas on what can happen on farms to encourage more bird activity. 

Sheep and Goat keepers - have you submitted your annual inventory for 2021?

Sheep and goat keepers in Wales are being reminded to submit their annual inventory form by Monday 1 February, to avoid potential penalties. The form can be submitted by either logging onto the EID Cymru website (www.eidcymru.org), or by returning the paper form in the post.

FUW Pembrokeshire County Executive Officer Rebecca Voyle said: “The annual inventory of sheep and goats is a legal requirement and it is vital that farmers record all the sheep and goats that they are the registered keeper of, by CPH location, on 1 January 2021. 

“The number of sheep/goats  declared must include breeding sheep, rams, ram lambs, store and finished lambs, cull ewes/rams, goats and any other sheep. It is important that farmers do this to avoid a potential cross-compliance penalty and an increased likelihood of an inspection.”

If you require any assistance, contact the EIDCymru service helpline 01970 636959, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or your local FUW county office.

Report livestock worrying incidents to police, FUW urges farmers

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is urging members to report all incidents of livestock attacks to the police to ensure that the right actions can be taken.

FUW Deputy President Ian Rickman said: “Avoidable losses, such as those that occur when a dog chases or attacks livestock, remain a significant source of frustration for the livestock sector in Wales. 

“Industry initiatives, such as the FUW campaign “Your dog, Your responsibility” which widened the message to respecting the countryside, picking up after your dog, keeping dogs on a lead near livestock and making sure dogs don’t escape from home, have had some impact but sadly we keep hearing about more incidents recently.”

FUW members set to benefit from new planning services partnership

If you need advice on pre-planning applications, reviewing constraints, project viability, and master-planning, then our new partnership with RML Consultants might be just the professional helping hand you need. The FUW is therefore excited to announce our new partner contract with the company who will deliver town and country planning services for members predominantly in North Wales. 

RML was established by Managing Director Ivor Richards OBE, in 1984, to provide multi-disciplined engineering, landscape and environmental consultancy.  Originally specialising in brownfield remediation, the company gained a reputation for high-quality design in sensitive landscapes and for applying the principles of ‘working with nature’.  RML has published national guidance documents based on decades of experience and technical expertise. 

2021 - FUW Farmhouse Breakfast Week returns with a difference

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is once again preparing for one of its key events - the annual Farmhouse Breakfast week, which will run from Monday 18 - Sunday 24 January 2021.

Under normal circumstances the FUW would be looking forward to sitting around kitchen tables with friends, family and neighbours up and down the country - sharing our thoughts, worries, concerns and anything else on our mind. Of course, given the on-going Covid-19 restrictions, the  usual way of running this campaign is sadly not an option.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “However, the ethos of sitting around the kitchen table to enjoy the wonderful produce our farmers produce from eggs, cheese, bacon, sausages to butters and yoghurts etc, is still very much do-able at home with our closest family.”

FUW President New Year's Message - by Glyn Roberts

As we enter a New Year in which we all hope to return to some kind of normality, the UK’s genuine departure from the European Union after a lengthy divorce suggests 2021 will be anything but normal, irrespective of what progress is made in tackling the current coronavirus pandemic. Having breathed a collective sigh of relief after the UK and EU finally reached agreement on Christmas Eve - thereby avoiding the nightmare of tariffs that would have reduce farmgate prices for some products by 30% or more - from 1 January 2021 we will nevertheless start to see the impacts of non-tariff barriers which will make 2021 difficult to say the least for many Welsh businesses.

As the one-hundred-plus members who joined our Brexit webinar on December 17 learned, the Export Health Certificates required by food manufacturers to export products to the EU will cost around £150 to £200 each, meaning the total UK bill for certificates alone is expected to be between £45 million and £60 million in 2021 if exports continue at current rates. This is equivalent to between 3% and 4% of the value of current UK meat exports. Meanwhile, the additional costs of these and other non-tariff barriers are estimated to be between 4% and 8% - equivalent to a reduction of between 19p and 40p per deadweight kilo based on last year’s SQQ lamb prices.

We also have certainty regarding the budget that will replace our EU Common Agricultural Policy budget: in December 2019, the UK Government announced a Welsh BPS budget that took no account of the 15% Pillar Transfer, leaving a funding gap of £42 million. Then in November this year, they announced a Welsh funding allocation that increases this funding gap for 2021-2022 to £137 million - equivalent to a cut of around 41%.

Welsh farmers breath collective sigh of relief after trade deal breakthrough

Welsh farmers and food producers have sighed a huge sigh of relief after it was revealed that the UK and EU are close to agreeing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) covering key Welsh products.

Speaking after news of the breakthrough broke on Wednesday evening (December 23), FUW President Glyn Roberts said: "The consequences of a no deal for farming and other industries would be catastrophic, so it was always hoped that common sense would prevail.

"However, there was always a risk that refusals to compromise on one or other side could lead to the worst case scenario."

Mr Roberts also welcomed the EU's formal listing of the UK as a 'Third Country' - a move which is essential in terms of allowing Welsh food exports to the EU.

"However, our access to the EU market, which is the destination for three quarters of Welsh food and drink exports, will still face significant barriers after 31st Decembers, with non-tariff barrier costs expected to rise by 4 to 8 percent."

Mr Roberts said the full text of an agreement would have to be scrutinised in order to assess the full impacts and benefits, and a number of concerns existed including in terms of seed potato exports.

"Nevertheless, the Welsh farming industry, like others the length and breadth of Great Britain, will be celebrating Christmas having breathed a huge sigh of relief that a deal seems close to being agreed."

FUW welcomes Welsh Government direct payment ceiling announcement

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed the Welsh Government’s announcement of a direct payment ceiling that will ensure Basic Payments Scheme (BPS) payments in 2021 remain at the same level as in 2020.

Lesley Griffiths, Welsh Government Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, announced on Monday (21 December) a total direct payment ceiling of £238 million for the 2021 BPS.

Speaking after the announcement, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “We very much welcome the Minister’s confirmation that she intends to provide financial security for farming families and the tens of thousands of rural businesses they support at a time of unprecedented uncertainty.”

Pembrokeshire farming family highlight role industry plays in looking after the environment and producing nutritious food

Nestled in the Pembrokeshire countryside just outside of Haverfordwest, the Miles family have made their home and livelihood on a dairy farm. Having moved to the Pembrokeshire countryside in 1997 Dai, Sharron and son Llŷr farm in partnership. 

The business was started by Dai and Sharron, who took 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 took on a further 90 acres of pasture land and then in 2005 the neighbouring farm within the same estate. 

In 2018 they purchased the neighbouring farm Beudy Bach, from the estate and installed a modern robotic milking system on the holding and son Llyr has joined the business after returning from Aberystwyth University where he studied agriculture. 

Llŷr said: “Mum and dad have always been farming, and I’ve had an interest in farming so went to Aberystwyth Uni to study agriculture and took a year in industry, then came home. It’s what I enjoy doing and it’s what I want to do.” 

Across the holdings, the family look after 110 hectares and 35 hectares of summer grazing for the heifers and use for silage. In the milking herd they have 130 cows and 60 followers. “We predominantly keep British Friesian cows and only occasionally buy some in, but we rear our own British Friesians. They're a great, hardy breed of cow, which we graze from February to November, they produce great milk from grass,” said Llŷr. 

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/