Agricultural Policy

FUW responds to consultation on contractual relationships in the UK dairy industry

In June, Defra and the Devolved Governments launched a consultation into contractual reform for the dairy sector. An earlier review of supply chain fairness by the Grocery Code Adjudicator found an uneven distribution of power within the dairy supply chain and views were sought on contract regulation aimed at improving fairness in the dairy supply chain.

The FUW responded to the consultation after consulting with it’s Milk and Dairy Produce Committee and County Branches across Wales. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Union received reports from many members who had borne a disproportionate amount of the cost in the supply chain when markets changed overnight.

In light of the pandemic, the FUW supported contract regulation. However, due to the large number of members that supply farmer owned co-operatives, it was also felt that any newly implemented regulations should provide the flexibility to allow for those co-operatives to continue to operate as they do currently for the benefit of their members.

News in Brief September 2020

i) Welsh Government answer raises concerns over future spending

In response to a recent question asked by Shadow Agricultural Spokesman Llyr Huws Grufydd with regard to the funding committed to the RDP Sustainable Management Scheme, Welsh Government clarified that £2,836,260 (18%) and £13,092,091 (82%) of the total funding is spent on capital and revenue (i.e. salaries etc) respectively.

In light of the ongoing Sustainable Farming and our Land: Simplifying Agricultural Support consultation, this clarity raises major concern as to how the future funding for agriculture will be distributed and who will benefit.

ii) Scotland scraps three crop greening requirements

The passing of the Agriculture (Retained EU Law and Data) (Scotland) Bill has provided Scotland with the power to simplify and improve the administration of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) schemes.

Scottish Government has since confirmed that the £130 million Greening scheme will be simplified from 2021 onwards, removing the three-crop rule altogether and retaining Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs) in the short term. The permanent grassland option will remain.

Similar proposals form part of the Welsh Government’s Simplifying Agricultural Support consultation.

iii) Defra publishes latest licences for badger control in England

In continuing with the long term strategy for tackling Bovine TB which began in 2014, Natural England and Defra have published the latest licences for areas that will undertake badger control activities in England this year.

The licences and supporting documentation for the reauthorised 33 existing and 11 new areas can be viewed here.

RDP funding announcement raises concerns on future priorities

The Welsh Government has given details as to how £106 million of RDP funding will be prioritised over the next three years.

The funding forms part of the EU RDP 2014-20 budget - including the 15% transferred from farmers’ Basic Payments - and from Welsh Government’s own funds.

The Welsh Government says schemes which are considered to underpin Wales’ rural economy, biodiversity and environmental priorities are to receive continued support, as well as new schemes designed in response to current and upcoming challenges. A proportion of the budget will also be used towards the sustainable management of Wales’ natural resources.

Welsh Government priorities will include:

FUW Webinar: Land use, conservation and cultural clearances - lessons for Wales and the UK from around the world

For more than five decades the charity Survival International has worked with tribal and indigenous peoples around the globe to protect them against racism, land theft, forced development and genocidal violence - often at the hand of so-called conservation groups or governments implementing sweeping land use changes.

On October 12th the organisation’s Director Stephen Corry and Research and Advocacy Officer Fiore Longo will join speakers from Wales and the north of England to consider how land use policies and conservation can become a cover for colonialism and the oppression of local populations - and why we shouldn’t consider this as just an issue for the Global South - once called the “Developing World”.

“Conservation groups are now openly calling for huge areas of land to be ‘protected’ from ‘human intervention’ (except theirs), without taking into account how traditional land users have shaped landscapes for countless generations – to the benefit of both human survival and biodiversity.

“They want to end the self-sufficiency of millions of people and push them off the land and into dependence on factory- farmed or produced food. This will be a disaster for people and the planet.”

Stephen Corry, Director, Survival International

Those interested in joining the webinar should contact FUW Policy Communication Officer Gareth Parry by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephoning 07872 903641.

FUW hosts virtual All Wales Mental Health Conference

Poor mental health and suicide in rural and farming communities is sadly an increasing problem and one that the FUW has made a commitment to help tackle.

As we approach the fourth year of awareness raising and doing everything it takes to help break the stigma, the Union is hosting a virtual All Wales Mental Health Conference on Friday 9 October 2020 via Zoom, ahead of World Mental Health Day.

The FUW understands that mental health problems can affect a person’s ability to process information and solve problems, deplete their energy and motivation, and increase impulsive behaviour. Whilst the symptoms are being treated, the root causes of these issues are not so frequently addressed.

This conference will therefore go beyond the usual points of discussions and explore the subject further. It is an open event and anyone with an interest in mental health is welcome to join us virtually on the day.

The morning session will explore the wider context of poor mental health in rural communities and what steps need to be taken by Governments, decision makers and policy shapers to address the situation, especially as Covid-19 has put further pressure not just on people’s mental health but also their finances.