The BPS Support Scheme is available to those farmers who won’t receive their payment on day one of the BPS payment window. The loan will be worth up to 90% of the BPS claim value. The application form is now available through your RPW online account. Lesley Griffiths has confirmed that more than 75% of farmers will receive their BPS payment on day one of the payment window.
Click here for more information
29 November 2019
Farming Connect Prosper from Pasture Programme
Permanent pasture accounts for more than 75% of the total farmed area in Wales. The Proposer from Pasture Programme will consist of 3 levels - entry, intermediate and advanced - each of which will cover different aspects of grassland management. Each applicant will need to confirm that they have a valid Nutrient Management Plan.
For further information and to register, click here.
9 December 2019
Glastir Advanced, Commons or Organic Contracts
Those who have contracts that are due to expire at the end of 2019 will be offered a contract renewal to 2021 in October. You must accept or decline the offer via RPW online as soon as possible.
Glastir Capital Works
Check your RPW online accounts for any notifications of unclaimed Capital Works. All unclaimed Capital Works must be completed by 31 December 2019 and claimed no later than 28 January 2020.
31 December 2019
Water Abstraction Licences
You must apply for a water abstraction licence if you take more than 20 cubic meters (4,400 gallons) per day from a surface or groundwater source. Continuing to abstract this amount of water without submitting an application after 2019 will be a criminal offence.
See here for more information.
31 December 2019
Sheep and Goat annual inventory
It’s that time of year again to complete your Sheep and Goat annual inventory. All keepers will receive a paper form in the post throughout December. The annual inventory must be filled in with the number of sheep and goats you own on 1 January 2020. The form must be returned by 30 January 2020.
For further guidance, please click here.
30 January 2020
BPS Transfer of Entitlements
You can now transfer BPS entitlements through sale, lease or inheritance. It must be accessed through the RPW online account. The recipient of entitlements transferred by sale or lease must meet the Active Farmer requirements (see SAF Rules for details).
At a recent meeting with First Minister, Mark Drakeford, and Minister for Environmental, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, the Farmers’ Union of Wales called for an independent review of the current Bovine TB evidence base.
Alongside the call for an independent review, the FUW presented the First Minister with the latest TB statistics for Wales, including the significant rise in the number of cattle slaughtered. The First Minister also heard how the TB testing regime used in an Enhanced Management Herd can mean 5 weeks of work just to test cattle on a family farm over an 18 month period.
During the meeting, the FUW called for an independent review of the current bovine TB evidence base with a view to assessing the suitability of current wildlife control measures and to make recommendations on future badger culling policies in Wales. The union called for funding to be made available through the EU transition fund.
If accepted, the review would benefit from evidence of bovine TB in wildlife, as reported by Badger Found Dead, spoligotyping to identify the TB strain and the potential of whole genome sequencing in cattle and badgers.
The FUW’s call for an independent review by analysts with no connection to the issue is an approach which has been utilised successfully in other sectors.
The First Minister was also reminded of the substantial physical, mental and financial pressures conferred upon farmers due to bovine TB and the potential risks that it may bring to future trade relations.
The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed moves to exempt livestock from the regulation pertaining to Mobile Animal Exhibits (MAEs) and recently responded to the Welsh Government consultation on this issue.
As stated in the FUW’s response to the 2017 consultation on this issue, the 2015 Harris et al review, which is cited within this consultation as a core piece of evidentiary support, was conducted to evaluate the welfare of wild and non-domesticated animals. This consultation therefore provides no evidentiary support to justify the inclusion of domesticated livestock in the definition and / or regulation associated with MAEs and the FUW would seek to ensure that all livestock are thus exempt from the definition of MAEs.
Livestock keepers already adhere to a wealth of regulation pertaining to the health and welfare of farmed animals. Such regulation covers a breadth of issues including on-farm welfare, welfare at transport, welfare at slaughter and welfare at market. The specific regulations include the Animal Welfare Act (2006); the Welfare of Farmed Animals (Wales) regulation 2007; the Welfare of Animal in Transport Order 2007. In addition, sector specific livestock welfare Codes of Practise are available and cover issues such as the 5 basic freedoms, including freedom to exhibit normal behaviours and freedom from fear and stress.
As part of its consultation response on this issue, the FUW cited that an integral part of the union’s work is to reconnect the general public with the countryside environment and the food that they consume. Educating both current and future consumers is of paramount importance in developing consumers which are able to make informed decisions when buying food produce. The Union continues to reiterate that food produced to high health and welfare standards carries additional costs which may not be borne by producers in other countries. It is therefore essential that the general public are offered the opportunity to learn about domestic food production standards by engaging with livestock at shows and displays.
Given the above, the FUW believes it is therefore essential that the current consultation does not hinder efforts to connect consumers with the countryside and food production as any disconnect could inadvertently hinder animal welfare by increasing the consumption of cheaper imports produced to lower welfare standards.
The Dŵr Cymru (Welsh Water) weed wiper project has come to an end after 5 years and the results have now been published.
During the 5 year project, farmers hired a weed wiper for free on 269 occasions and approximately 2587 hectares of land were treated to control rush infestation; thereby increasing grassland production and economic returns. It is estimated that the scheme has saved the use of almost 5700 litres of MCPA for controlling rushes.
The scheme also successfully raised awareness amongst farmers and provided best practice advice using a rush control hierarchy.
The Farmers’ Union of Wales participated throughout the scheme and continues to support ventures that deliver environmental and economic benefits in tandem.
The supermarket Waitrose has announced plans to source all Waitrose-labelled fresh and frozen lamb from Britain by the summer of 2021. This will support markets for existing and new suppliers and is additional to their current commitments for 100% British fresh chicken, pork, beef, eggs and liquid milk.
Supermarkets, such as Waitrose, have sourced New Zealand lamb during the Winter citing low UK lamb supplies. Working with producers across the UK with varied production cycles will fulfill this gap in the market. AHDB figures for 2019 suggest that Aldi, Co-op and Morrisons already source 100% of their lamb in Britain, whereas less than 50% of Asda’s lamb is British all year round.
The Farmers’ Union of Wales has long urged supermarkets to commit to the procurement of Welsh and British lamb and beef, and to ensure prices paid by suppliers or through direct contracts recognise the high quality premium product produced.
Welsh lamb is produced sustainably, with excellent animal welfare standards, and helps rural communities to thrive. The FUW welcomes the commitment by Waitrose to source British lamb all year round and would now call on all other supermarkets without the same commitment to support domestic produce and follow suit.