FUW highlights challenges during Ministerial Summit on extreme weather

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has highlighted the challenges farmers are facing due to the wet weather and called for possible interventions during a summit which took place recently (19 April).

Organised by Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change and Rural Affairs, Huw Irranca-Davies MS, the summit was arranged to examine the impacts of the current prolonged wet weather and to explore what interventions may be necessary from the supply chain to deal with the exceptional circumstances some farmers are facing.

Speaking after the summit, FUW President, Ian Rickman said: “We welcome the opportunity to discuss these very timely issues farmers face following an extremely wet winter. It was positive to see engagement from such a wide range of stakeholders from across the UK food supply chain.

“Some of the interventions we called for included derogations around scheme requirements; many Growing for the Environment contract holders have simply been unable to meet the required sowing dates due to the wet conditions. It’s been impossible for some farmers to comply with their Small Grants Environment contracts due to both the weather and prescriptive dates for when certain works could be completed.”

Other interventions required, in the FUW’s view, include greater flexibility to cross compliance rules and farm inspections. Additionally there is an urgent need to provide capital grant support to farmers for slurry infrastructure and yard coverings in line with reducing the burden on those who are attempting to complete works to meet incoming regulatory requirements.

“Despite numerous calls made by the FUW to delay the third phase of the Control of Agricultural Pollution ‘NVZ’ regulations until the review of the regulations has been completed, this latest edition of wet weather has made it impossible for building contractors to continue with their work. This means that the August deadline for increased slurry storage is looking as challenging as ever.

“Above all else, these past few months have demonstrated the need for any future financial support scheme in Wales to underpin the economic viability of our family farms so that they can continue to navigate such unforeseen circumstances in future.

“Whilst we await news from the Welsh Government on outcomes from the summit, it is recommended for any farmer facing extreme difficulties to seek support and speak with relevant organisations. These include the FUW, Rural Payments Wales, Natural Resources Wales, bank managers, The DPJ Foundation or any other mental health charities. No one should feel alone during these trying times, we’re all here to support one another,” concluded Ian Rickman.

FUW meets with new First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has met with the recently elected First Minister for Wales, Vaughan Gething, and new Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Climate Change, Huw Irranca-Davies, to discuss the way forward for the farming industry.

Speaking after the meeting, FUW President Ian Rickman said: “We welcome this early opportunity to outline the current challenges we face as a farming industry and to discuss possible next steps with the newly appointed First Minister and Cabinet Secretary following our request for an urgent meeting.

“We made it very clear that the feeling of frustration and anxiety within the industry still very much exists, and we presented our extensive Sustainable Farming Scheme consultation response and a list of our key asks to the Cabinet Secretary.”

FUW presents strong case for SFS rethink to Senedd Climate Change Committee

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has recently (21 March) provided oral evidence as part of the Senedd Climate Change, Environment and Infrastructure Committee’s inquiry into the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS), during which the Union presented a strong case for the need to rethink current proposals.

Huw Irranca-Davies MS takes on Rural Affairs portfolio at critical time for the industry, says FUW

As the recently appointed First Minister for Wales, Vaughan Gething MS, announces his new Senedd Cabinet, it has been revealed that Huw Irranca-Davies MS will be taking up the role of Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change and Rural Affairs.

In writing to the recently appointed Secretary, FUW President Ian Rickman said: “Firstly, I would like to congratulate Huw Irranca-Davies on being appointed as the new Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change and Rural Affairs. On behalf of the FUW, I wish him every success in the role and we look forward to working with him and his officials in shaping a better future for Welsh agriculture.

"This is certainly an extremely busy time for the farming sector. However, the depth of feeling and frustration demonstrated only weeks ago in Cardiff and across Wales has by no means gone away. The new Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs takes on this portfolio at one of the most critical times for the future of our industry.”

FUW response to Sustainable Farming Scheme consultation highlights concerning amount of change required within the timeframe

The Farmers’ Union of Wales’ response to the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Farming Scheme: “Keeping farmers farming” consultation has highlighted the concerning amount of change that is required to make sure the scheme is fit for purpose within the time available.

History repeating itself says FUW as two agricultural Senedd motions voted down

Following a protest by thousands of farmers and staff from associated businesses on the steps of the Senedd in Cardiff Bay last week (28 February), the Senedd proceeded to debate and vote down two motions on policies relating to the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) and bovine TB.

The Welsh Conservatives motion called on the Welsh Government to scrap the current sustainable farming scheme proposals and to re-engage with the farming sector to develop a new scheme that has the support of the farming community.

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