FUW report highlights importance of farm support in Wales’ livestock supply chains

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has emphasised the importance of maintaining agricultural support to the rural economy and agricultural production after publishing a report highlighting the role of direct support to Wales’ livestock supply chains.

The report, entitled ‘The role of farm support in Wales’ livestock supply chains’ uses five years of Welsh Farm Business Survey figures to investigate what increases in profits or reductions in selected input costs would be needed to maintain average livestock farm profits if direct support was cut by 50% and 100%.

FUW President Ian Rickman said: “Wales has already lost more than £200 million as a result of UK Treasury cuts to our agriculture budget, and the Welsh Government has recently cut this year’s rural affairs budget by a further £37 million.

Prominent Llanfair Caereinion farmer joins FUW Board

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has appointed prominent Llanfair Caereinion farmer, Wyn Williams, to its Board as a farmer director. Mr Williams farms at Penllwyn Farm, Llanfair Caereinion,Powys,  a 280 acre hill farm where he keeps 600 ewes and 150 ewe lambs. 

He is a former senior livestock buyer at Dunbia (Llanybydder) and also held roles such as Group Procurement Manager and Livestock Procurement Manager with them. He has been on the Board of Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales for 9 years and is also the FUW’s county vice chair in Montgomeryshire. 

Speaking about his appointment to the FUW Board, he said: “Farming faces a turbulent and uncertain future and now more than ever we need to ensure that the FUW is there to ensure that our members are well served in return for their membership fees.  At a time of significant change within the sector I’m looking forward to helping guide the efforts of the Union from a business perspective to help us support our members in navigating those challenges.”

Union stresses importance of fair funding for industry in meetings with politicians

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has stressed the importance of clear, sector specific funding in meetings with politicians at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair whilst also highlighting the urgent need for clarity if we are to retain Wales’ family farms.

FUW President Ian Rickman said: “Concerns regarding the possibility that agricultural and rural development budgets may not be restored, or may be cut even further, are exacerbated by the fact that what funding is made available is no longer ring-fenced for direct support for farmers and specific rural development objectives.

“It is also not regulated by strict spending criteria, meaning national Governments are in effect at liberty to reduce support and reallocate funding away from rural communities without regard for the social principles which were previously upheld through UK and EU legislation. We urgently need clarity on those issues from Westminster and Cardiff.”

The FUW also discussed issues surrounding the Habitat Wales Scheme, the Sustainable farming scheme and issues surrounding the proposed National Park in North East Wales and Montgomeryshire.

Winning FUW Christmas card designs revealed

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has revealed the winning designs for its Christmas card design competition. Children from primary schools across Wales had been invited to submit a farming themed Christmas card design in aid of Wales Air Ambulance, the FUW’s current Presidential charity.

The competition was split into two categories – English and Welsh designs. The English category was won by Lucy-grace Humphrey, 9 years old, from Glannau Gwaun School, Fishguard. The Welsh category was won by Ynyr Wyn Lloyd, 9 years old, from Bontnewydd School, Caernarfon.

FUW President Ian Rickman said: “The competition was a roaring success once again and has attracted hundreds of entries from across Wales. The standard was very high and presented the judges with a tough task when it came to choosing the winners.

“I would like to thank every single child who entered the competition and to tell them that without their participation the contest would not have been such a success. I would also like to express my gratitude to the staff at the schools up and down the country that assisted the FUW in the running of the competition.

“It gave children in urban and rural areas of Wales an opportunity to connect with the farming industry and express their thoughts in a creative and colourful way, showing why #FarmingMatters. I believe it is vital that we as farmers maintain a strong link with young people so that they understand the way that food is produced in this country.”

The cards can be purchased either from the FUW’s head office by calling 01970 820820 or from respective FUW county offices.

Ceredigion farming family highlights concerns to local politicians

A Ceredigion beef and sheep farming family have outlined their concerns for the industry when they welcomed Plaid Cymru MP Ben Lake and Elin Jones MS to their farm on the outskirts of Tregaron.

Garnwen farm, a 4th generation holding, is home to Peter, Gill and Emily Jones. The family keep 250 ewes, including 80 pedigree North Country Cheviots, 10 Charmoise Hill sheep and 160 commercial ewes, as well as 20 suckler cows including pedigree Beef Shorthorns on 140 acres, including 20 rented.

A traditional family farm with a low input approach, the cattle are in a high health scheme to ensure no disease is brought onto the farm and herd. The farm has strong sustainability aims, using organic lays including chicory and plantain, which acts as a natural wormer for sheep. 

Through such grazing practises the family have reduced their antibiotic use on farm and found it to be a more sustainable way of getting their lambs ready for market, reducing supplementary feeding. Fertiliser is also being used sparingly across the holding.

Union officials and politicians enjoyed a presentation from Emily on the farm business and heard the families concerns about the Sustainable Farming Scheme proposals, as well as the Welsh Government’s approach to eradicating diseases such as bovine TB and sheep scab. Union officials also highlighted concerns around Wales’ Rural Affairs budget.

Speaking after the visit, FUW President Ian Rickman said: “A huge focus for us ahead of the next UK General Election is Wales’ rural affairs budget and we raised some concerns around that with Ben Lake and Elin Jones. We know that by 2025, Wales will have received around £228 million less in funding for agriculture and rural development than could have been expected had the UK remained within the EU.

“This doesn’t include the recent announcement of the £37 million which could be lost from the rural affairs budget at a time of major transition and pressures for farmers. What we are seeing is that with the conclusion of Glastir and the implementation of the interim Habitat Wales Scheme, now is the first time a significant number of farmers throughout Wales will feel the impact of Brexit and budget cuts at the farm gate.

“Funding received from the UK Treasury is also no longer ring-fenced for direct support for farmers and specific rural development objectives, nor regulated by strict spending criteria as it used to be under EU legislation. With this in mind, it is absolutely essential that the Sustainable Farming Scheme is sufficiently resourced and Welsh farmers are properly rewarded for helping to meet Welsh Government targets.”

The Union president also thanked the Jones family for the warm welcome to the farm, adding: “Farming families like Emily’s are the backbone of our rural economies, keeping our way of life and culture alive and are leading the way in sustainable food production. It is crucial we don’t lose farming families like the Jones’ from our lands.”


Tel: 01970 820820
Email: post@fuw.org.uk
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