Agricultural Policy

Welsh Government response to consultation on Simplifying Agricultural Support

A statement made by Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths on 16 November regarding the outcome of a recent consultation on simplifying agricultural support in Wales has been cautiously welcomed by the farming industry.

The Sustainable Farming and our Land: Simplifying Agricultural Support consultation, which ended on the 23 October 2020, proposed eleven changes to the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and a number of major changes to the principles underpinning the Rural Development Programme.

It is welcome to note that Welsh Government has accepted many of the concerns that the industry, including the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) raised, including in terms of impacts for cross border and young farmers.

Instead of only taking Welsh land into account for BPS and potentially disabling cross border farmers with less than 5 eligible hectares in Wales from being able to claim entitlements, Welsh Government has agreed to provide a derogation for cross border farmers so that they can rely on land they had available in other administrations in 2020.

UK Agriculture Bill provides greater transparency for red meat levy

Despite the defeat of an amendment put forward to require agricultural and food imports after Brexit to meet equivalent domestic standards, the UK Agriculture Bill does contain particular Clauses that will benefit Welsh and UK Agriculture in different ways.

Now that the Bill has received Royal Assent, red meat levy payments will become more transparent in order to take the slaughter of Welsh livestock in England into account.

It’s now 15 years since the FUW told the Radcliffe Review of the levy boards that levy money paid by Welsh farmers for livestock slaughtered in England should be available to HCC, not what is now AHDB. Since then the annual losses to England of ‘Welsh’ levy money have increased by hundreds of thousands - most notably as a result of the closure of Welsh Country Foods in Geirwen and the resulting diversion of livestock to English abattoirs.  It is estimated that this move will return more than £1 million from English abattoirs back to Wales and Scotland.

FUW cautiously welcomes free sheep scab testing in Wales

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has cautiously welcomed news that the examination of skin scrape samples from sheep showing suspect clinical signs of sheep scab is being offered free of charge in Wales by the APHA and funded by Welsh Government until 31 March 2021.

The scheme will aid accurate diagnosis, which is a prerequisite for appropriate treatment and successful control of sheep scab, a priority of the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework.

Furthermore, the scheme will also encourage sheep farmers to work with their veterinary surgeon to protect their flocks from sheep scab. As well as accurate diagnosis for controlling the disease if it occurs, good flock biosecurity is essential to keep it out.

It is extremely disappointing that the industry endorsed programme for the eradication of sheep scab, which was set to receive £5.1 million as part of the Rural Development Programme last year, has been kicked into the long grass, despite Welsh Government recently allocating £106 million to a number of other ‘priority’ projects (including £16.5 million for making ‘...improvements to natural resources in residential areas’).

The FUW has made it clear to Minister Lesley Griffiths that whilst this new approach addresses a small part of the issue - the testing element - it needs to be complemented with contiguous testing and co-ordinated treatment where the disease is confirmed on a farm, as was proposed by the industry-led Sheep Scab Eradication Group two years ago.

Nevertheless, the FUW is urging its members to take advantage of this free testing while it’s available and will continue to lobby for the full funding that is required to fully eradicate sheep scab from Wales.

News in Brief November 2020

i) Fifteen Asia-Pacific countries sign world’s largest free trade agreement

Fifteen countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including New Zealand and China, have signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) deal, the world’s largest free trade agreement.

It is believed to bring an extra $2 billion into New Zealand however, ‘It’s Our Future’ believe that there has been no effective public consultation over the deal, nor does it look like there is great economic benefit to be gained according to the economic modelling.


ii) Welsh Government release latest TB statistics

The latest statistics on TB were released by Welsh Government on 17 November. Cattle slaughterings during the 12 months to August 2020 stood at 10,462, down 18% but from a record high in the previous year.

The recent figures show some encouraging results however progress is not being made as quickly as in some areas of England, in particular in the English badger culling areas which have seen a fall in incidences of 66% and 37% in Gloucestershire and Somerset respectively.


iii) New Acting Chief Executive Officer for British Wool

As Joe Farren stands down from Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of British Wool, Andrew Hogley who has been working closely with Mr Farren over the past few years, has been appointed to succeed his position.

Andrew Hogley, a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge and a past research analyst, will be promoted from his current role as Director of Wool Sales & Producer Services.

FUW urges members to take advantage of free sheep scab testing

The FUW has cautiously welcomed news that the examination of skin scrape samples from sheep showing suspect clinical signs of sheep scab is being offered free of charge in Wales by the APHA and funded by Welsh Government until 31 March 2021.

The scheme will aid accurate diagnosis, which is a prerequisite for appropriate treatment and successful control of sheep scab, a priority of the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework.

Furthermore, the scheme will also encourage sheep farmers to work with their veterinary surgeon to protect their flocks from sheep scab. As well as accurate diagnosis for controlling the disease if it occurs, good flock biosecurity is essential to keep it out.

It is extremely disappointing that the industry endorsed programme for the eradication of sheep scab, which was set to receive £5.1 million as part of the Rural Development Programme last year, has been thrown into the long grass, despite Welsh Government recently allocating £106 million to a number of other ‘priority’ projects.

The FUW has made it clear to Minister Lesley Griffiths that whilst this new approach addresses a small part of the issue - the testing element - it needs to be complemented with contiguous testing and co-ordinated treatment where the disease is confirmed on a farm, as was proposed by the industry-led Sheep Scab Eradication Group.

Nevertheless, the FUW is urging members to take advantage of this free testing.

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