i) New Chair at Hybu Cig Cymru
Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths has recently announced that Catherine Smith will take over from Kevin Roberts as Chair of Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales as of 1st April 2021.
Catherine, who has a degree in Food and Consumer Management and is a food business consultant with over 20 years’ experience in the red meat sector, will be the first woman to undertake the role as Chair of HCC.
ii) Concerns raised as Defra employs new official to focus on Common Land
The Foundation for Common Land (FCL) recently raised concerns with the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee regarding the potential risk of Commoners in England being unable to access the new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) while direct payments are continued to be phased out.
Defra has since appointed a new official with no prior knowledge to focus on the policy for Common Land however, the FCL claims that Defra has a “high level of ambition for introducing the new ELM scheme on English common land, but a low level of preparedness to do so”, and has offered to provide training to Defra staff given the complexity of Commons.
iii) Levy payers vote against AHDB in the horticulture sector
Of the 1,400 horticultural levy payers in England who pay for AHDB in the horticulture sector, 61% voted in a ballot on 15th February to reject the continuation of the statutory levy.
Although the ballot entailed a simple yes or no question for what is a complex matter in relation to value of levy, farm size and crop type, Defra Ministers and the devolved administrations - who are not bound by the ballot’s findings - will now scrutinise these results closely before making a final decision.