Agricultural Policy

News in Brief

i) Investment for State-of the-Art Pig Facilities in England
An £11 million investment in the National Pig Centre in Tadcaster will see the UK lead the way in pig science research.  Projects being conducted at the Centre will include ways to improve pig welfare and lower the carbon footprint of pig production. 

ii) Red Tape Still Top Barrier to Business Growth
A survey by Hitachi Capital Business has shown that red tape and business uncertainty are the biggest barriers to business reported by farmers.

Other barriers include volatile cash flow, unpredictable weather and the value of the Sterling. 

iii) Beef Ban U-Turn Following Student Backlash
The University of East Anglia has put beef back on the menu of its shops and bars following a backlash from students.

The initial ban branded beef a contributor to climate change.  However, the u-turn came following concerns that the decision had been undemocratic.  Fifty-three percent of the council voted to overturn the ban; with just 36% voting to keep it. 

iv) Protests Over Beef Prices Continue In Ireland
Protests by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) are still ongoing due to the row over low beef prices - one of which took place at the ‘goods in’ depot at Dunnes Stores in Dublin on 11 - 12 December for 24 hours following discounted prices.

This comes after blockades in Co. Kildare and Co. Dublin on 10 and 11 December, and comments from Tesco stating that price promotions do not reflect the prices that producers receive.  The IFA continue to accuse processors and supermarkets as Irish beef prices are now 50c per kg behind Uk averages.

Major concerns regarding access reforms

The Welsh Government’s 2017 Taking Forward Wales’ Management of Sustainable Resources consultation put forward 56 proposals relating to a diverse range of issues, including forestry, agriculture, public access and littering, and posed 40 questions.

On 4th April 2019, Hannah Blythyn AM, the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Housing & Local Government, told the National Assembly for Wales that in response to the consultation she the Welsh Government intended, amongst other things, to:

  • Introduce multi use paths (allowing cycling and horse riding on footpaths)
  • Reduce the restrictions associated with open access land
  • Lift the restrictions on cycling and horse riding, hang-gliding and paragliding, bathing or using a vessel or sailboard on natural bodies of water. 
  • Retain restrictions on use of manmade bodies of water, organised games and camping.
  • Extend access land to the coast and cliffs
  • Enable temporary diversions and exclusions to be applied across access land.
  • Create a new type of public right of way - ‘cycle paths’
  • Remove the anomaly that prevents organised cycling events on bridleways
  • Enforce placing dogs on a short fixed length lead in the vicinity of livestock at all times of year                 
  • Amend technical provisions around creating, diverting and extinguishing rights of way
  • Allow more flexibility around livestock control                     
  • Amend the requirement for a decadal review of access maps to a process of continual review                              
  • Repeal some areas of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act that are proving costly and inefficient                              
  • Change the role of Local Access Forums

The Welsh Government has since announced that three expert groups will be established to look at Changes to Open Access / CRoW Land, Flexibility on public paths and Communicating access rights.

The FUW has applied to sit on all three groups, but has made it clear that its views on access remain unchanged since the response to the 2017 consultation paper was submitted. 

In particular, the FUW argues that the Welsh Government’s own statistics show that the massive increase in access to the countryside that has occurred since 2000, through the creation of new paths and open access legislation, has had no noticeable impact on public health, and that the focus should therefore be on encouraging responsible use of what’s already there rather than merely increasing access.

FUW Host General Election Hustings & General Election Results Are In

The Farmers’ Union of Wales played its part in supporting constituencies across Wales by organising, in partnership with NFU and YFC on occasions, a total of 12 hustings to allow the people of Wales to question their respective MPs.  Specifically, it provided an opportunity for FUW members to question the candidates on their plans for agriculture both nationally and locally.

The Conserative Party won 365 seats across the UK, 47 more than in 2017, while Labour won 203 seats, the Scotish National Party (SNP) 48 seats and the Liberal Democrats just 11 seats. Plaid Cymru retained their four seats in Wales.

So where do we stand now?  Briefly, it seems now that as the Conservatives have a majority Government, the revised Withdrawal Agreement is likely to be passed by Parliament and we will formally leave the EU on the 31st January 2020 and enter a transition period until the end of 2020 during which all negotiations and implementation of policies such as border controls must be completed.

As well as continuing to argue for a close trading arrangement with the EU, the FUW will also be fighting any moves which introduce unfair competition from farmers in other countries, especially where those countries have health, hygiene, welfare and environmental standards which would be illegal here in the UK.  Such priorities relating directly to Brexit are made clear in the FUW’s 2019 Manifesto, which also highlights key priorities such as long term funding for agriculture, how climate change must be tackled without compromising food production and the need to ensure TB is recognised as a threat to international trade.

The FUW is committed to lobbying and working with all those in Westminster to ensure that Welsh agriculture and Wales’ family farms receive the attention and respect that they warrant.

FUW Calls for Independent Review of Bovine TB Data

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.

Expression of Interest Window Dates

Scheme Summary Window Close
Glastir Advanced, Commons or Organic Contracts Those who have contracts that are due to expire at the end of 2019 will have been offered a contract renewal.  Those who haven’t yet accepted or rejected the contract renewal offer on your RPW Online account should have received a letter explaining that the deadline to do so has been extended until 31 December 2019.  It is advised however to complete it by 20 December as the Customer Contact Centre (0300 062 5004) is closed thereafter 20 December 2019
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). 30 April 2020
COVID-19 - Gwybodaeth Bwysig i’n haelodau a chwsmeriaid

Yn dilyn gwasgariad y Coronafeirws (COVID-19), rydym wedi penderfynu amddiffyn aelodau, cwsmeriaid a chyd-aelodau staff trwy gau pob swyddfa FUW. 

Bydd pob aelod o staff yn gweithio oddi ar ein safleoedd am y dyfodol rhagweladwy, golygir y bydd ein timau yn parhau i gynnig yr holl wasanaethau dros ffon/e-bost/skype neu ffyrdd eraill o gyfathrebu o bell. 

Dylai aelodau a chwsmeriaid barhau i gysylltu gyda ni yn yr un modd ag arfer, gellir cysylltu â’r staff trwy ddefnyddio’r rhifau ffôn arferol.  

Byddwn yn sicrhau bod safon ein gwasanaethau yn parhau. Caiff apwyntiadau SAF/IACS barhau fel yr arfer ond fe cant eu gwneud dros y ffôn. 

Gweler manylion cyswllt eich swyddfa leol yma: https://fuw.org.uk/cy/cysylltwch

 

Linciau pwysig ynglŷn â'r Coronafeirws:

 

Mae Hwb TB wedi paratoi rhestr o gwestiynnau a ofynnir yn aml parthed sut caiff prosesau TB eu heffeihtio gan y feirws: https://tbhub.co.uk/statutory-tb-testing-of-cattle-in-gb-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

Tractor Coch (Red Tractor) dwieddariad yma: https://assurance.redtractor.org.uk/contentfiles/Farmers-7085.pdf?_=637206600290507095

Cymdeithas Arwerthwyr Da-byw - 25/03/2020: https://www.laa.co.uk/news/3989/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-to-members-and-farmers/

Busnes Cymru (sy’n cynnwys gwybdooaeth am gefnogaeth i fusnesau oherwydd y Coronafeirws): https://businesswales.gov.wales/cy/cyngor-coronafeirws

Cynllun benthyg Coronafeirws oherwydd ymyriad i fusnes ar gael trwy fenthycwyr sy'n cymryd rhan: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/  
 
Canllawiau Cymdeithas Genedlaethol y Contractwyr Amaethyddol (NAAC) ar Coronafeirws: https://www.naac.co.uk/coronavirus-guidance-issued-to-contractors/
 
Gwasanaethau Cofnodi Llaeth Cenedlaethol 24/03/2020: https://www.nmr.co.uk/about-us/coronavirus