Agricultural Policy

FUW hits out at extended ‘Soft-touch’ period for imports from EU

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has described the UK Government’s decision to allow imports from the EU to circumvent checks until the autumn as a blow for many UK producers, and an own goal in terms of the UK’s negotiating position over improvements that would help UK exporters.

While thorough checks have been in place for UK food exports to the EU since 1st January 2021, equivalent checks on food products imported from the EU were due to be introduced from 1st April following a transition period to allow importers to adjust to the UK’s departure from the EU Single Market.

However, the UK Government announced on 11th March that pre-notification requirements for products of animal origin, certain animal by-products and high risk food not of animal origin would not be required until 1st October 2021. Export health certificate requirements for meat and dairy products and certain animal by-products will come into force on the same date, while a range of other requirements have been delayed until 2022.

UK borders are currently operating like valves that make it extremely difficult and costly for exports to the EU due to the paperwork and bureaucracy at EU borders, yet it’s extremely easy for those in the EU to import into the UK because the UK Government has waived the need for equivalent checks at our own borders.

Roundtable meeting with George Eustice MP provides question opportunity

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) President Glyn Roberts and staff attended a roundtable meeting with The Rt Hon George Eustice MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 18th March 2021.

During the meeting, the FUW stressed the need for clarity on funding for Welsh agriculture. The Welsh Government is still unable to assign an amount to agricultural funding from 2023 onwards, creating uncertainty around the continuity of BPS payments and the new Sustainable Farming Scheme, in addition to the £137 million cut that Wales saw to its agricultural funding for the next financial year.

Indeed, the UK Government committed in its manifesto to fully replace the funding that Wales previously received from the EU to support farming by promising ‘not a penny less’. The industry needs reassurances about the budget and when a multi-year settlement will be provided as opposed to a one-year budget.

FUW expresses anger over PETA advert with Daily Post

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has sent a letter of complaint to the Daily Post following an unprecedented response from its membership in regard to a recent PETA advert in the Wednesday 24th March edition of the paper.

FUW members have expressed anger, frustration and disappointment that a paper that has a strong rural and farming audience would consider publishing an advert that encourages irresponsible and dangerous behaviour as does the PETA advert which asks for members of the public to report incidents of ill cows on UK Farms.

The letter states that encouraging the public to trespass on farmland is not just stressful to the animals, it is also dangerous for the person approaching livestock - especially as many cows will be with calves at this time of year.

It is entirely possible that individuals taking action as a result of this advert will misunderstand the situation and such misunderstandings could easily damage the reputation of the industry if the general public decide to share out of context videos and photos based on their partial understanding of what constitutes proper care for farm animals.

‘Livestock Worrying - do you know your rights?’ FUW Webinar provides hope

Rural crime has become a major problem for farming and rural communities across Wales as reports of livestock worrying, livestock thefts and agricultural machinery thefts have been increasingly reported.

The most pertinent of these to the Welsh agricultural industry is livestock worrying, and dog attacks on livestock. In efforts to tackle livestock attacks and raise awareness of the problems associated with such incidents, the FUW launched its ‘Your Dog Your Responsibility” campaign in 2019 which included farm-gate warning signs to provide farmers with a practical way to remind those walking dogs near livestock of their responsibilities and the potential dangers.

Given the significant rise in the number of Welsh residents using public right of ways during the pandemic and consequently the increase of dogs being walked near livestock, the FUW held an online webinar entitled ‘Livestock Worrying - do you know your rights?’ with speakers from the North Wales Police Rural Crime Team and Dyfed-Powys Police to provide an insight into the current laws surrounding dog attacks on livestock.

According to the North Wales Police Rural Crime Team, there were 449 livestock worrying incidents from between 2013 and 2017 whereby 648 head of livestock were killed and 376 injured, although 89 percent of these attacks were by dogs that had escaped their home.

However as the Home Office does not require police forces to record livestock attacks, the true scale of the impacts on the economy, food supply, communities and farm businesses is unknown.

The current Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act was introduced in 1953 when both farming and policies were different and therefore no longer serves its purpose in providing adequate policing powers against livestock attacks.

News in brief March 2021

i) Redistribution of red meat levy agreed

The redistribution of red meat levies in Wales, England and Scotland will be implemented from 1st April 2021 in order to take into account cross-border livestock movements.

This move will allow levy monies to be paid to the levy board of the Country where an animal has spent most of its life rather than where it was slaughtered. Although it will enable Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) to focus on their respective marketing campaigns, collaborative projects for the benefit of all three nations will continue.

ii) FUW welcomes creation of all-Wales Rural and Wildlife Crime Coordinator

The announcement by Welsh Government Minister of Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths, that a dedicated all-Wales Rural and Wildlife Crime Coordinator role will be established, has been welcomed by the Farmers’ Union of Wales.

In her announcement, the Minister agreed to provide funding for the 12 month pilot role and has written to the Chief Constables of the 4 Welsh police forces and the Police and Crime Commissioners seeking their cooperation and support to appoint an all-Wales Rural and Wildlife Crime Coordinator.

COVID-19 - Important Information for our members and customers

 

In view of the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we’ve taken the decision to help protect members, customers and colleagues by closing all FUW offices.

All staff will be working remotely for the foreseeable future, meaning our team will be continuing with exactly the same service but over the phone/email/skype or other means of remote communication instead. 

Members and customers should continue to contact us as they would, as all our team can be contacted via the usual phone numbers. 

We will be making sure that our service levels are maintained. SAF/IACS appointments will carry on as normal but will be conducted over the phone. 

Contact details for your local office can be found here: https://www.fuw.org.uk/en/contact-us 

 

Important links relating to the Coronavirus:


The TB Hub have prepared a list of FAQs regarding how TB procedures will be affected by the virus: https://tbhub.co.uk/statutory-tb-testing-of-cattle-in-gb-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

Red Tractor Updated Covid-19 position here: https://assurance.redtractor.org.uk/contentfiles/Farmers-7085.pdf?_=637206600290507095

Livestock Auctioneers Association LAA - 25/03/2020: https://www.laa.co.uk/news/3989/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-to-members-and-farmers/

Business Wales (including details of coronavirus support for businesses): https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) available through participating lenders: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/

National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) guidance on Coronavirus: https://www.naac.co.uk/coronavirus-guidance-issued-to-contractors/

National Milk Recording services 24/03/2020: https://www.nmr.co.uk/about-us/coronavirus

Senedd Research Blog: https://seneddresearch.blog/2020/03/17/coronavirus-constituency-support/