The Farmers’ Union of Wales is looking forward to a busy Welsh Dairy Show (Tuesday, 29 October), with #FarmingMatters and the future of the industry high on the agenda.
Speaking ahead of the event, FUW Vice President Dai Miles said: “We look forward to welcoming members to the Union stand and those visiting the show are also invited to join us for some warming cawl at our outside trailer.
“There will be plenty of #FarmingMatters chats and we look forward to discussing the dairy industry with those who come to see us.”
The FUW is also looking forward to the annual eve of Welsh Dairy show farm visit, which will take place at Caws Teifi Cheese on Monday, 28 October and the evening function, held at Carmarthen Livestock Market, commencing at 7 pm.
“As is FUW tradition, we will be visiting an inspirational dairy enterprise in the afternoon of the eve of the Welsh Dairy Show and in the evening we look forward to hearing from our keynote speakers as they discuss the past and future of the dairy industry.”
Caerphilly farmer David Perkins, who farms at Duffryn Isaf Farm, Lanbradach, welcomed local Assembly Member Hefin David to his farm to discuss the most critical #FarmingMatters.
The farm extends to around 100 acres and carries a flock 220 breeding ewes plus 15 suckler cows. It has been in the family for 3 generations with David’s grandfather having bought the farm in 1945.
During the visit to the typical Valleys family farm, FUW officials explained how the proposed future farming support system, as laid out in the Sustainable Farming and our Land consultation, would impact upon the viability of farms like Duffryn Isaf.
The consultation proposes that future support should be designed around the principle of sustainability in a way which brings together the ‘wide-ranging and significant economic, environmental and social contribution or farmers’, through a single Sustainable Farming Scheme based on the principles of providing a meaningful and stable income stream; rewarding outcomes in a fair way; paying for both new and existing sustainable practices; and flexibility allowing every type of farm to apply.
FUW Gwent CEO Glyn Davies said: “We took the opportunity to highlight that farms such as Duffryn Isaf are likely to be severely affected by the removal of the basic payment scheme, and its replacement by environmental schemes. What is proposed is the replacement of direct support for farmers with what is, in essence, a public goods scheme.
With bonfire night fast approaching, the Farmers’ Union of Wales is urging people to remember the distress fireworks and sky lanterns can cause to livestock and pets and reminds them of the dangers posed by bonfires.
“We call on people to stick to the firework safety code at all times, especially over the bonfire and Halloween season, to minimise the risk to livestock, pets and humans,” said FUW Vice President Brian Bowen.
“This time of year poses many dangers to animals and children – so don’t let negligence and ignorance be the cause for a real-life horror,” added Mr Bowen.
Animals in general are not fond of the noise of fireworks and can become quite anxious during this time of year. Therefore, the FUW urges people to be considerate and not let them off near livestock.
“It is also a good idea to make sure that your pets have been micro-chipped by a vet and that the details on the chip are up to date prior to bonfire night, just in case they go missing,” said Brian Bowen.
The importance of staying safe on-farm and the benefits of producing food with the environment in mind, were topics high on the agenda at a recent farm visit in Meirionnydd.
Opening the gates to their beef and sheep farm to host the event, were FUW Meirionnydd county chairman Sion Ifans and wife Gwawr. The couple farm at Brynuchaf, Llanymawddwy.
The farm extends to 370 hectares, the majority of which is mountain land, and is a typical Meirionnydd upland farm.
Here they keep a flock of 900 Welsh mountain ewes, and 15 suckler cows. All store stock is sold through farmers marts, with all the finished lambs sent to Randall Parker Foods in Llanidloes or via Farmers Marts at the livestock auction in Machynlleth.
The farm has also been in the Glastir scheme since 2014, and there is a long history of participation in agri-environment schemes such as Tir Cymen in the early 1990’s when Meirionnydd was chosen as a pilot area for the scheme. Thereafter, the farm joined the Tir Gofal scheme until the opportunity came to join Glastir.
To supplement the farm income, Sion also works self-employed on a part-time basis with Farming Connect and Welsh Lamb and Beef Promotions and wife Gwawr is employed by Conwy Council as a translator.
Welcoming a delegation of local farmers and showcasing the various elements of the Glastir scheme, Sion said: “We have always cared deeply for the environment here at Brynuchaf and think that food production and looking after the land, go hand in hand.
“As food producers, we are subjected to all weather and are just as exposed as everyone else to climate change and the extremes it brings.
The Farmers’ Union of Wales says the draft withdrawal deal and political declaration agreed between the EU and the UK does nothing to allay concerns present in Theresa May’s original deal, given it contains ‘no significant changes or improvements for Wales’ and will place the UK outside the Single Market.
FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “From a Welsh perspective the deal is to all intents and purposes unchanged from when it was proposed by Theresa May.
“The fact that it seeks to take us well and truly out of the Single Market and Customs Union in order to pave the way for deals with non-EU countries, coupled with the UK Government’s alarming appetite for a deal with the USA, raises major alarm bells for Welsh farming and those concerned with UK food standards.”
Mr Roberts said it would clearly be a US priority in trade negotiations to secure access to the UK market for agricultural products - which are often produced in ways and to standards that fall well short of what is currently legal in Wales and the rest of the EU.
“The impact would be extremely damaging for Welsh farmers and UK food standards, and there is a real danger that the UK would be ‘deal-takers’ during the sort of negotiations this withdrawal deal and political declaration is seeking to allow.
Pembrokeshire dairy farmer Dai Miles has been elected as the new Farmers’ Union of Wales Vice President at the FUW’s Grand Council meeting in Aberystwyth (Wednesday, 16 October).
Dai has been the FUW’s milk and dairy produce committee chairman since 2017 and is also one of the 4 founding directors of Calon Wen, an organic milk co-operative that not only sells on its member’s milk to processors but has created its own brand of dairy products which are available through all major retailers in Wales and UK wide via distributors.
A self-confessed born Cardi, Dai lived in Felin Fach near Lampeter as a child and went to Ysgol Gyfun Aberaeron. He is a fluent Welsh speaker and attended the Welsh Agricultural College in Aberystwyth where he received a National Diploma in Agriculture and completed a sandwich year at Godor Nantgaredig.
After college Dai spent 5 years as a Herdsman of 160 cows at Waun Fawr Glynarthen Llandysul, then a further 5 years at IGER Trawscoed working as a relief herdsman between the two dairy herds -Lodge Farm and the organic herd at Ty Gwyn.
In 1997, in partnership with his wife Sharron, the couple took on the tenancy of Barnsley Farm, a 143 acres farm in West Wales. 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. At the moment the couple have 120 cows and 65 youngstock. Cropping is mainly grass, however arable silage, forage rape and fodder beet are part of the rotation farming approx. 300 plus acres.
In 2018 they purchased the neighbouring farm from the estate and installed a modern robotic milking system on the holding.
Speaking about his appointment Dai said: “One reason why I am proud to be a member of the FUW is that all members have a voice whether they farm large businesses or smaller farms.