Agricultural Policy

RTA move to virtual inspections during covid

Red Tractor Assurance have decided to conduct ‘virtual’ farm tour inspections with farmers (which will be applicable for dairy and crop Red Tractor Assured farms in Wales). High risk farms, new RTA members and those with overdue inspections will be prioritised for virtual inspection.

If farmers decide to have a virtual farm assessment and conform to the standards then they do not need a physical inspection when the pandemic is over.

A Q&A on the remote inspection process is on the RTA website:
https://assurance.redtractor.org.uk/contentfiles/Farmers-7104.pdf?_=637225641329099630

 

NRW guidance for milk disposal

Where farmers are forced to dispose of more milk on fields over the coming weeks or months, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) have relaxed elements of the U10 waste exemption. However storage and spreading requirements remain in place and an exemption must still be applied for here.

The standard U10 waste exemption guidance can be found on the NRW website here. The requirements for storage, spreading limits and spreading conditions remain in place. However spreading frequency limits have been relaxed to once every three weeks. In addition to the current waste requirements:

  • This exemption should only be used if no other storage alternatives are available
  • All other land management requirements i.e. through Glastir must be met
  • Do not apply more than 50 metre cubed of slurry or dirty water in a single application
  • Waste milk must be diluted with equal amounts of water or slurry
  • Records of fields, amount of waste applied and date must be kept for two years

Further information on NRW’s approach to covid is available here. Farmers who cannot meet the above requirements can contact NRW by email on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 03000 65 3000.

RABDF milk price survey

The FUW is urging farmers who have been victims of milk price cuts or missed milk collections to complete this RABDF survey on a daily basis. The information gathered in this survey will provide Defra with valuable statistics on the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on the UK and Welsh dairy sector.

 

Latest guidance for farmers on public right of ways

Since the beginning of the covid pandemic, access to the countryside and the use of public footpaths has been high on the agenda and was highlighted in the first letter to UK Secretary of State George Eustice and Welsh Minister Lesley Griffiths on 23 March.

Welsh Government therefore enacted the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020 on 27 March which enables Local Authorities to close footpaths which are deemed as high risk. This has been enforced in some areas of Wales as required and up to date lists of the closed footpaths can be viewed here.

In addition, Welsh Government have created guidance explaining the legalities and advice for farmers who are responsible for public footpaths. Please click here for the Welsh Government footpath guidance.

The FUW has produced appropriate signs for members to use which can be obtained through email from your local county office and we continue to discuss these matters with Stakeholders amongst the Access Reform Advisory Group.

 

HSE guidance on keeping children safe during lockdown

With the closure of schools across the country during the coronavirus pandemic and the likelihood of children being at home on the farm for some time, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is calling on the farming industry to keep children safe.

Most children who are killed or seriously injured in farm incidents are family members. The advice from the HSE includes:

  • Children should not be allowed in the farm work place. Young children should enjoy outdoor space in a fenced area
  • Any access to the work area by children under 16, for example for education, knowledge or experience, should be planned and fully supervised by an adult who is not engaged in any other work activity
  • Children under the age of 13 years are specifically prohibited from driving or riding on any agricultural machinery

Farms are full of many hazards such as vehicles, machinery, large animals, lagoons, dusts and chemicals. Children should not be in contact with any of those unless the risk of injury or bad health is carefully managed and controlled as per the above.

Further information on keeping children safe on farms is available here.