The Farmers’ Union of Wales and FUW Insurance Services Ltd. highlighted and discussed the most critical issues affecting the agricultural industry through a series of webinars at the virtual Royal Welsh Show.
FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “Last week was a busy one for the FUW team and we had an excellent presence at the virtual Royal Welsh Show. We hosted a variety of webinars ranging from the rural housing crisis, climate change, mental health, digital connectivity and farm safety - each and every one of them touched on crucially important issues for our industry.
“If you weren’t able to join them during the show week, they are available for you to watch in the members section of the FUW website and of course the Royal Welsh show events pages. I would like to thank all of our speakers for their excellent contributions and of course also the Royal Welsh Show for providing the platform so we could, against the odds, still bring a virtual show to everyone.”
In addition to the webinars, the Union also launched a lobbying tool through its website, allowing members and the public to write to their elected representatives highlighting their grave concerns about the Free Trade Deal with Australia.
Starting the virtual show week, the FUW focussed on the rural housing crisis and the webinar, which was chaired by Farmers Guardian Chief Reporter Abi Kay, heard from Cumbria MP and former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron; Gwynedd County Council Leader and WLGA Rural Forum co-chair Dyfrig Siencyn and Nefyn Town Council leader and Hawl i Fyw Adra campaigner Rhys Tudur.
“Rural communities across the UK have been under pressure due to second home ownership and related effects for decades, especially in ‘honeypot’ areas such as National Parks, but the pandemic has accelerated the trend, causing rapid house-price inflation and placing rural houses even further beyond the financial reach of rural and agricultural communities. Our speakers delved much deeper into the subject and if you weren’t able to join us on the day you can catch up with them through the website,” said FUW President Glyn Roberts.
The webinar ‘Tackling the rural housing crisis’ is available to watch again here:
Addressing concerns around climate change and food production, a panel of experts discussed ‘Producing food and looking after the environment’. The event, which was chaired by FUW Deputy President Ian Rickman, heard from FUW Head of Policy Dr Nick Fenwick who addressed the issue of reducing livestock numbers and planting trees in Wales; Laura Ryan from the Global Meat Alliance addressed the global meat perspective and the United Nations Food Systems Summit dialogue; Hybu Cig Cymru-Meat Promotion Wales , Industry Development and Relations Manager, John Richards spoke about the role livestock farming plays to positively enhance biodiversity and habitats, whilst delivering sustainable, nutritious food; Dairy UK Chief Executive Dr Judith Bryans gave a presentation on the global dairy perspective and FUW President Glyn Roberts and his daughter Beca Glyn discussed climate change and farming with the environment in mind from a grassroots perspective.
FUW Deputy President Ian Rickman said: “In this webinar we kept the conversation around food production and climate change going, raising awareness amongst consumers and farmers about the issues facing the industry in this context. I thank the panel for their excellent contributions and if you couldn’t join us for the event, don’t forget it’s available online.”
The webinar ‘Producing food and looking after the environment’ is available to watch again here:
During the virtual show week, which coincided with Farm Safety Week, safety on farms and how farmers can protect themselves and their business was also put under the spotlight at a webinar, hosted by FUW Insurance Services Ltd.
Keynote speakers on the day included Tony Succamore,Sales and Operations Director of FUW Insurance Services Ltd; Georgina Davis, Business Development Manager (Midlands) at British Engineering Services; Health and Safety Executive representative Christopher Maher and Farm safety expert and instructor Brian Rees.
The webinar ‘Protect your business, Protect your family - farm safety under the spotlight’ is available to watch again here: https://royalwelsh.digital/protect-your-business-protect-your-family-farm-safety-under-the-spotlight/
The FUW also stood by its commitment to keep the spotlight on mental health issues for as long as it remains a problem in our rural communities. Approaching the fifth year of awareness raising and doing everything we can to help break the stigma, we asked - how are you doing?
Together with the leading farming charities in Wales we took a look at what has changed, how far we have come and what issues still remain. Titled ‘Mental Health- how are you doing?’, the FUW was joined by representatives from the DPJ Foundation, The Farming Community Network, Tir Dewi and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution.
FUW President Glyn Roberts, who chaired the event, said: “The last 12 months have been tough for many of us. Covid-19 restrictions have seen many of us physically separated from friends, family and loved ones. The everyday stress of life, running a farm business and home schooling children added to pressures.
“In addition to that the farming community also has to cope with new Agricultural Pollution regulations, bovine TB, uncertainty of trade deals and is looking at major changes to farming policy. To say we are in the eye of a perfect storm is putting it mildly.
“With all of this going on, we once again joined forces with our charities to discuss how they have been able to help over the past 12 months, what help they need to address the growing demand on mental health services and explore what we ourselves can do to maintain good mental health.”
The webinar ‘Mental health- how are you doing’ is available to watch again here:
Following a survey, run by the National Federation of Women's Institutes-Wales, CLA, Farmers’ Union of Wales, NFU Cymru and Wales YFC, which showed that over 50% of respondents from a rural area felt that the internet they had access to was not fast and reliable, a special digital connectivity event also took place to discuss the findings and the future of digital connectivity for Wales.
The webinar ‘Digital connectivity: Addressing the digital divide between rural and urban areas’ is available to watch again here: https://royalwelsh.digital/digital-connectivity-on-rural-wales/