Agricultural Policy

Water Resources ‘NVZ’ Regulations - what next?

Despite a tremendous effort made by the farming industry in urging Members of the Senedd to vote to annul the Water Resources (Control of Agricultural Pollution) (Wales) Regulations in the Senedd on 3rd March 2021, the motion was marginally defeated by 30 votes to 27.

Therefore as it currently stands, the regulations will become part of cross compliance under Statutory Management Regulation (SMR) 1 from April 2021.

  • Week commencing 22nd March 2021 - SMR1 fact sheet available on the Welsh Government website and a message sent to all farmers via RPW Online. The fact sheet outlines the regulations that are set to become law from 1st April and will be updated ahead of the changes in 2023 and 2024.
  • Week commencing 22nd March 2021 - Comprehensive guidance available on the Welsh Government website including two FAQs, one of which will focus on tenant farmers.
  • A guidance workbook will be produced in due course which will be aimed towards helping farmers undertake the required calculations and provide guidance on the records that will be required from 1st January 2023.
  • 25th March 2021 - Farming Connect will launch guidance videos. Furthermore, e-learning modules, online events and in person events (when Covid-19 restrictions allow) will be launched over the coming months.

The timetable along with a summary of the regulations will be available in the April edition of Y Tir.

It may seem that this battle has been lost but the war is definitely not over. The FUW, on behalf of its membership, is committed to do its best in holding the next Welsh Government to account to scrap or atleast change the direction of travel of these draconian, costly and disproportionate regulations.

Major retailer Morrisons targets net zero carbon British farms

The major retailer Morrisons has announced plans to become the first UK supermarket to be completely supplied by net zero carbon British farmers by 2030.

As the biggest customer of British farmers supporting around 3,000 producers, Morrisons expects to reach this goal 5 years ahead of the rest of the market.

Selected producers will begin to look at strategies for reducing carbon emissions throughout the supply chain including rearing different breeds, reducing food miles, renewable energy, low emission housing and reducing water and fertiliser use.

They will also be looking at offsetting carbon emissions by planting grassland and clover, restoring peatland and planting trees.

To achieve the 2030 goal, it plans to sell all of its eggs with net zero carbon status by 2022 and the same for beef by 2025.

HSBC UK launches £550m fund to support SMEs in Wales

HSBC UK has recently launched a £550m lending fund towards supporting the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Wales.

This is part of a larger £15bn UK fund which includes larger ring-fenced pots for businesses that trade internationally (£2bn), the agricultural sector (£1.2bn), businesses within the tech sector (£500m) and franchise businesses (£500m).

According to research conducted by HSBC, 62% of UK businesses intend to increase investment in the next year despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The fund is aimed towards helping businesses grasp new opportunities and achieve goals which will support the Welsh agricultural industry given the uncertainty surrounding the future of support payments and costly regulations.

The FUW welcomes the fact that HSBC recognises the importance of SMEs to the UK economy, a fact that becomes even clearer in the context of Wales’ rural economy.

Further information can be found here:
https://www.business.hsbc.uk/en-gb/gb/campaign/fund-for-smes

The British Society of Animal Science 2021 Conference

The British Society of Animal Science (BSAS) will be holding a virtual conference over 4 days from 12th to 15th April 2021.

Titled ‘The Challenge of Change - The New Normal?’, the conference will host debates and webinars surrounding the challenges of adapting to the new ‘normal’ post Covid-19 and Brexit.

Leading international speakers will share the latest ground-breaking research developments in animal science, agriculture, policy and trade, education and knowledge exchange.

Some of the key FREE webinars include:

  • Climate change and biodiversity loss, 17.00 - 18.30 Tuesday 13th April 2021
  • Developments in dairy, 13.00 - 14.30 Wednesday 14th April 2021
  • Future beef farms, 17.00 - 18.30 Wednesday 14th April 2021

Further information can be found here: https://bsas.org.uk/conference

Tickets for the full conference and registration for the free webinars can be found here: https://bsas.org.uk/conference/booknow

 

Surveys and questionnaires March 2021

i) Take the survey on digital connectivity

The National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI), with the support of the FUW, Wales YFC, NFU Cymru & CLA Cymru, has launched a survey with the aim of gathering a picture of members’ access to broadband and mobile phone connectivity.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the importance of digital connectivity has significantly increased for work and personal reasons.

According to a report published by Ofcom in December 2020, 18,000 homes in Wales are unable to access decent broadband, which is defined as provided download speeds of 10 Mbp/s and upload speeds of 1 MBp/s.

The survey is available here in English and Welsh.

The survey is completely anonymous and is open to anyone aged 16 and over until 31st March.

If you would like a paper copy of the survey, please contact the NFWI-Wales Office via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 029 2022 1712.

 

ii) ‘The Big Farming Survey’ – RABI to deliver insight into the issues impacting farming people

On 11th January 2021, RABI launched the largest ever research project across Wales and England relating to the wellbeing of farming people. This wide-ranging survey will consider for the first time the relationship between physical health, mental wellbeing and the health of farm businesses.

With mounting external pressures, this vital research will provide the most comprehensive overview of the farming community. It will identify the specific challenges that a generation of farming people face, as well as highlighting how these impact daily life.

The FUW is supporting this important initiative and encourages everyone to get involved
in this research and reach the target of 26,000 survey responses.

Goals of the #BigFarmingSurvey

  • To understand the wellbeing of a farming generation
  • To understand the health of our farmers and their businesses
  • To gain insights into external impacts and pressures
  • To shape future support and services

Who can take part: Farmers, farm workers, their spouses and adult-aged children
When: 11th January - 31st March 2021
Online: http://ex.ac.uk/BigFarmingSurvey
Print: Request a printed copy from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please set aside 15 minutes to take part by responding to the printed survey or
completing the online form in Welsh or English.

 

iii) BeefQ Survey on the perception of beef eating quality

In the last two years of the BeefQ project, work has focussed on characterising the carcasses submitted for slaughter in Wales and developing a system for predicting beef eating quality based on the Australian MSA system, but verified using UK beef samples and consumer taste tests.

The consumer taste panel work revealed that people say they are willing to pay double for the highest quality product and the beef eating quality prediction model now has the potential to lead to a guaranteed standard of eating quality and increase consumer confidence in Welsh Beef.

Now this work has been successfully completed, the project enters a new and critical phase – that of consultation with Welsh and broader UK farming and food industries to gauge the desire/ need for a beef eating quality prediction system and to consider how such a system might be implemented.

The BeefQ project team would therefore encourage anyone working in the beef supply chain (farmers, abattoirs, butchers, retail), as well as catering and hospitality sectors, to complete the survey. The responses will contribute to recommendations on the system’s feasibility, if and how it could be implemented and the barriers perceived in doing so.

To participate in the survey, please go to http://www.beefq.wales/survey.html

 

iv) Questionnaire on the identification and risk factors associated tick prevalence in ruminants

Ms Sheeza Iqbal, a Masters student at Hartpury University is undertaking research on the identification and risk factors associated with high tick prevalence in ruminants.

This research will contribute to the science towards controlling tick infestations and raise awareness of the diseases that ticks can spread.

All responses will be kept anonymous.

The questionnaire can be completed here and please contact Ms Sheeza Iqbal on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information.

 

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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/