New figures demonstrating the positive impact of badger culling on bovine TB levels in the High Risk Area of England have prompted the Farmers’ Union of Wales to call for a previous Welsh Government plan to cull badgers to tackle disease to be reinstated.
This follows the recent publication of data by Defra which demonstrates that the completion of the 4 year badger culls in both Somerset and Gloucestershire have reduced the number of new TB outbreaks by around half.
The English badger cull programme forms part of the strategy for achieving Officially Bovine TB Free Status for England by 2038. The positive results have prompted Defra to roll-out the cull in the remaining High Risk Areas of England.
Ian Lloyd, FUW Animal Health and Welfare Committee Chairman, said: “These findings are unsurprising and support the FUW’s interpretation of the results of the Randomised Badger Culling Trials. Previous modelling by the FUW showed that herd incidences could be reduced by 30 percent in a 5 year cull and by a further 33 percent in the following 3 years post-culling.”
Bala farmer Geraint Davies, who resigned as Welsh Chair of Nature Friendly Farming Network last week, has cited differences of opinion on recognising potential impacts of policies on families and food production as key reasons he felt he could no longer lead the organisation in Wales.
Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN), which was launched in January this year at the Real Oxford Farming Conference, comprises farmers from across the UK, and is funded and supported by a range of organisations, including the RSPB, Wildlife Trusts, National Trust, Friends of the Earth and the Organic Soil Association.
Speaking about his decision, Mr Davies said: “This decision was not taken lightly, but following numerous discussions with the charities and stakeholders who support and fund NFFN it became clear to me that my strong views about protecting Welsh farming families, food production, rural communities and our natural environment were not necessarily shared by some of these organisations.
Farmers from Montgomeryshire have raised concerns about the future of the industry in light of the proposals made in the Welsh Government's ‘Brexit and our Land’ consultation with First Minister Carwyn Jones.
Hosting the meeting at their farm Llwyn y Brain, Adfa, Newtown, were FUW members John and Sarah Yeomans. The Yeomans family run a herd of 73 cows consisting of pedigree Limousin, Limousin x, Belgian Blue x, and 15 homebred replacement heifers (closed herd). They further keep 495 ewes which are mainly Beulah and 160 Beulah ewe lambs and the flock has been closed since 1981. The couple sell Beulah draft ewes and some yearlings, as well as Welsh Mule ewe lambs for breeding and sell finished lambs on a deadweight basis.
The 232 acres of owned farmland sit between 750 feet to 1420 above sea level, with 100 acres (34.8ha) of lower land and 132 acres (53.4ha) of largely improved hill land. A further 53 acres of additional land is rented.
Speaking at the meeting, John Yeomans said: “Farmers across Wales will naturally be concerned about some of the proposals within the current consultation and the uncertainty created by this, coupled with the uncertainty of future trade deals, it makes it all very difficult for anyone to forward plan. I would urge the Welsh Government to slow down and ensure that they have done the right impact assessments and modelling for the whole of Wales before bringing any new schemes to life.”
Who remembers the popular television series that was broadcasted on S4C in the mid 90’s, ‘Y Palmant Aur’? I have to admit that at the time, I only took an interest in the series as it was filmed in my local area and Sunday nights turned into guessing games of where the local scenes were filmed. So thanks to teenage innocence, I did not realise the true meaning or the historical element of the story.
‘Y Palmant Aur’ was a period drama set in London and West Wales in the 1920's, which followed the trials and tribulations of the Jenkins family and was based upon a book of the same title.
The Farmers’ Union of Wales has described DEFRA’s Agriculture Bill, introduced to Parliament today, as a ‘leap into the economic and legal unknown’ given current uncertainty around Brexit and World Trade Organisation rules.
In what they describe as a ‘landmark agricultural bill’, DEFRA sets out a legal framework to phase out direct support for farming over a seven year period to 2027 while introducing a system of paying landowners for “public goods”.
Farmers' Union of Wales stalwart Meurig Voyle - who was appointed County Executive Officer for Denbigh during 1966, and subsequently, during 1968, was given responsibility for the county of Flint - has sadly passed away.
Responding to the news FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “The farming world has today lost one of its biggest advocates and the FUW has lost a friend, a member of our farming family. He told me once that he married twice once his wife and then the FUW - he was a character like no other. Meurig will be sorely missed and our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”
Meurig Voyle was educated at Llanddarog Primary School and Queen Elizabeth Grammar School where he was awarded rugby school colours.