FUW mourns passing of Brecon life member Glyn Powell

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is mourning the passing of its life member and farming stalwart Glyn Powell from Glansenni, Sennybridge. As an ambassador for agriculture, Glyn was the FUW’s Vice President between 1995 and 2000, and then deputy from 2000 to 2002 under Bob Parry. During this time one of his greatest challenges was the Foot and Mouth crisis. 

His father was a shepherd's son on the Cnewr estate, and his mother from Epynt. Although Glyn climbed to a high level in education by being the Principal of Brecon High School, he never forgot his roots, as he was very active in everything that involved the Epynt, and fought to save the Senni Valley from being drowned. He has been, and remained to the end of his life a great benefactor of the Welsh language and culture.

He campaigned to oppose the use of the Epynt Mountain as a burial area for livestock during the challenging Foot and Mouth epidemic, and when the Senni Valley was under threat of being drowned to supply water to Cardiff, Glyn led the way, as Secretary of the Cwm Senni Defence Committee, a battle that lasted from 1963 to 1972.

FUW farmhouse breakfast week

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, helping also to improve people’s mental health.

So in order to promote the health benefits and have a good catch up before the day starts, Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) teams across the country are once again hosting a variety of farmhouse breakfasts for a week between Monday 15 and Sunday 21 January 2024. The FUW is also again taking the farmhouse breakfast to Cardiff on Tuesday, January 16.

FUW President Ian Rickman 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 cause, the Wales Air Ambulance. All of us are looking forward to yet another good turnout. It’s fair to say that a healthy start is not just good for a healthy heart but also for a healthy mind.”

Cuts to rural affairs budget major blow to industry, FUW says

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has responded with criticism to the news that 13% has been cut from the draft Rural Affairs budget.

The publication of the Welsh Government draft budget for 2024-25 has revealed that the total funding for rural affairs will be cut by a total of £62 million, around 13%, compared with the final 2023-24 budget as announced in February, to help address the approximate £1.3 billion shortfall.

Whilst it has to be welcomed that the Welsh Government draft budget for 2024-25 for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) is maintained at £238 million for 2024, the overall backdrop of this budget reinforces uncertainty for the sector.

Speaking in response to the statement, FUW President Ian Rickman said: “The cuts made to Wales’ rural affairs funding in the Welsh Government’s draft budget for 2024-25 are a serious cause for concern, not least because replacement EU CAP funding alone should now equal around £440 million when taking inflation into account.

“At a time when Welsh farmers face huge uncertainty around future farm support and the actions they will be required to undertake in order to receive such support, it’s of paramount importance that the Welsh Government recognises the sustainable food our farmers produce and the contributions they make to the environment and wider rural economy when allocating funds to the rural affairs portfolio.”

The FUW recently published its report on the role of farm support in Wales’ livestock supply chains, revealing the stark impacts cuts to direct farm support could have on the wider rural economy and as such welcomed that at least some clarity was offered around the BPS.

“The level of clarity around the BPS provides some much needed certainty for our members for next year and will also allow us to provide some indicative figures for the minimum financial support they can expect to receive during the transition into the Sustainable Farming Scheme.

“We welcome the announcement which recognises the significance of the Basic Payment Scheme for around 16,000 farm businesses in Wales, and the thousands of tertiary businesses situated within rural communities which rely directly or indirectly on farms for a proportion of their income, however, the overall shortfall to the sector has to be reviewed and addressed.”

FUW Welcomes Outcome of Bovine TB Policy Discussions

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed the decision by the Welsh Government to change a policy proposal which would have prohibited the feeding of unpasteurised milk to livestock on Officially TB Withdrawn (OFTW) premises.

The proposal, which was put forward in the government’s 2021 Refreshed TB Programme consultation, was opposed by FUW members due to factors such as cost, the impracticalities of attempting to pasteurise individual mothers milk for each calf and the welfare benefits of colostrum in the first few days of life.

Following the consultation, the FUW repeatedly met with Welsh Government staff and officials to highlight members' concerns and to discuss the relative cost-benefit of introducing this measure.

Dr Hazel Wright, FUW Acting Head of Policy said: “We have spent a great deal of time and effort presenting our concerns to the Welsh Government over successive meetings on this issue.  We are therefore extremely pleased that our concerns have been heard and that this has resulted in a positive policy change”. 

“It is important for calf welfare that calves are provided with their mothers colostrum and milk for the first few days of life.  Given the immense impracticalities of attempting to pasteurise individual mothers milk for each calf, this proposal could have detrimentally affected calf welfare”

As part of its consultation response the FUW highlighted that while there may be significant risk in individual cases, the overall importance of milk borne transmission in the epidemic is probably low or negligible. Given the relative risk, the union did not believe that this was a priority issue and believed resources would be better spent elsewhere. 

“Whilst this proposal will not now be taken forward, we are encouraging cattle keepers to speak to their vet to understand the risk posed by milk borne transmission on their own individual premises” added Dr Wright. 

Founder of Castell Howell Foods honoured with ‘FUW Award for Outstanding Service to Welsh Agriculture’

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has honoured the founder of Castell Howell Foods with an award for ‘Outstanding Services to Welsh Agriculture’ at a recent dinner which was held in honour of Brian Jones which was held at the Halliwell Centre in Carmarthen.

After presenting Mr Jones with the award, FUW President Ian Rickman said: “35 years ago Brian Jones and Castell Howell Foods officially started their journey to being one of the largest independent food wholesalers to the foodservice sector in the UK. 

“From the company’s inception in 1988, the business has grown to employ in excess of 800 colleagues, list a range of over 14,000 products, delivering to 5000 customers across Wales and the border counties every week.

“The work Brian has done on behalf of agriculture, food production and promotion of Welsh produce over the years has been exceptional for that we thanked him with this special award.”

Castell Howell are proud of their Welsh agricultural roots with the promotion of local and regional foods a core value. The range of Welsh dairy products, meats, dry and frozen food is unparalleled, and the company is proud to act as an intermediary for many indigenous businesses, purchasing in excess of £37 million of food and services from Welsh suppliers in the past 12 months.

Thanks to his dedication to the food sector, and supporting the communities where the business operates Brian was awarded an MBE, has had the honour of being President of both the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society and Pembrokeshire Show, and is a Fellow of Aberystwyth University.

FUW Chief Executive Guto Bebb added: “I thank the Carmarthen team for their hard work in pulling this event together. It has been a triumph for agriculture and we are proud to have stalwarts such as Brian Jones in our industry ranks. The award is very well deserved and I congratulate Brian on his achievements.”


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