Agricultural Policy

TB Testing During The Coronavirus Outbreak

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) have published guidance for farmers on TB testing during the coronavirus pandemic. This guidance, including an FAQ, can be found on the TB Hub website.

APHA has prepared advice for vets in order to ensure a consistent approach to the prioritisation of TB testing across Britain. There are currently no plans to cancel any statutory requirements for TB testing. APHA is continuing to monitor the situation, and adjustments to TB testing instructions may be made as appropriate. Further details will follow as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses.

All government advice in relation to the coronavirus outbreak should be followed including self-isolation requirements if you have symptoms of the disease. If you live with others, and you or one of the household have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14 day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. Social distancing should be maintained, wherever possible, especially if you are in a risk group defined by Public Health Wales.

RPW To Consider Crop Diversification Derogations Following Floods

The FUW has raised concerns regarding crop diversification requirements for complying with the greening rules as part of the Basic Payment Scheme following major flooding events since the start of the year.

As a compulsory requirement for receiving BPS payments, greening rules include crop diversification practices which, depending on the country, size of holding and land use, enforces arable farmers to grow a variety of crops during May and June or July.

Following industry representations, Rural Payments Wales have announced that they will consider any requests from farmers unable to fulfil their Crop Diversification obligations on a case by case basis. Affected farmers should submit their request, and evidence, using their RPW Online account as soon as possible.

For further guidance on the greening rules for Wales, and what affected farmers should consider when requesting a derogation from RPW, please click here.

Welsh Government Launches £2.5 Million Flood Relief Fund

The Welsh Government has launched a £2.5 million Flood Relief Fund which is available for Welsh businesses to apply for a grant of £2,500 to help recover from the recent storms.

The grant is available to businesses that comply with the following:

  • The business is an SME (fewer than 250 employees) based in Wales
  • The business needs to demonstrate that they have suffered severe disruption as a result of storm Ciara and/or storm Dennis and/or Jorge:
    • Directly impacted by the weather event, i.e. flood damage to the property, equipment and / or stock;
    • Indirectly impacted by the weather event, i.e. the business has had no/highly restricted access to premises, equipment and/or stock as a result of flooding; restricted access for customers, suppliers and/or staff; suffered loss of trade and have issues with regards to wages for employees.

Businesses will need to provide:

  • details of estimated affected costs to their business
  • evidence of business address (within the last 3 months)
  • photographic evidence of damage

Funding can only be used to cover costs that cannot be recovered from insurance and only one application per business. For more information and to download the relevant guidance notes and application form, please click here.

The Flood Relief Fund is open until 20th August 2020 - funds permitting.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme Now Available

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is now available to provide a loan to smaller businesses of up to £5 million with a repayment term of up to 6 years to help with lost revenue during this pandemic.

  • The CBILS can provide a government-backed 80% guarantee loan, overdraft, invoice finance or asset finance
  • There is no fee for smaller businesses to access the scheme
  • Government will pay for the first 12 months of interest and lender-related fees. NB Agricultural businesses may not be eligible for the full payments
  • Finance terms are up to 6 years for term loans and asset finance support and up to 3 years for overdrafts and invoice finance support.
  • For facilities of above £250 thousand, the lender must establish a lack or absence of security prior to the business being allowed to use the CBILS
  • The borrower remains 100% liable for the debt

Small or medium sized enterprises (SMEs - fewer than 250 employees) from most sectors including agriculture can apply for the facilities and must:

  • Be UK-based in its business activity
  • Have an annual turnover of no more than £45 million
  • Have a borrowing proposal which the lender:
    • Would consider viable, were it not for the COVID-19 pandemic
    • Believes will enable you to trade out of any short-term to medium-term difficulty

For more information and details on how to apply, please click here.

Interactive Map Developed to Support Farmers During Ideal Time for Worms

The damp and mild weather conditions over the previous few months have functioned to provide suitable breeding conditions for many parasites.

In order to support farmers with this risk during lambing, the Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep (SCOPS) body launched an interactive map on 2nd March to predict peak parasite hatching. The ‘Nematodirus Forecast’ predicts the hatching date of the roundworm, Nematodirus battus, by using climatic data from 140 weather stations across the UK - 14 of which are in Wales - and maps the areas on a risk scale.

N. battus hatch en masse and this hatching is influenced by environmental conditions. This causes large numbers of larvae to emerge at the same time and this poses a significant disease transmission risk. Parasites mainly infect younger lambs and the Nematodirus Forecast, when used in combination with grazing history, can help predict the most effective time to treat for worms. On-farm factors such as grazing history and previous anthelmintic use must be considered before treating.

To view the interactive map and seek further information and advice for treating worms, please click here to visit the SCOPS website.