Agricultural Policy

FUW Calls for Independent Review of Bovine TB Data

At a recent meeting with First Minister, Mark Drakeford, and Minister for Environmental, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, the Farmers’ Union of Wales called for an independent review of the current Bovine TB evidence base.

Alongside the call for an independent review, the FUW presented the First Minister with the latest TB statistics for Wales, including the significant rise in the number of cattle slaughtered.  The First Minister also heard how the TB testing regime used in an Enhanced Management Herd can mean 5 weeks of work just to test cattle on a family farm over an 18 month period. 

During the meeting, the FUW called for an independent review of the current bovine TB evidence base with a view to assessing the suitability of current wildlife control measures and to make recommendations on future badger culling policies in Wales.   The union called for funding to be made available through the EU transition fund. 

If accepted, the review would benefit from evidence of bovine TB in wildlife, as reported by Badger Found Dead, spoligotyping to identify the TB strain and the potential of whole genome sequencing in cattle and badgers. 

The FUW’s call for an independent review by analysts with no connection to the issue is an approach which has been utilised successfully in other sectors.  

The First Minister was also reminded of the substantial physical, mental and financial pressures conferred upon farmers due to bovine TB and the potential risks that it may bring to future trade relations.

Expression of Interest Window Dates

Scheme Summary Window Close
Glastir Advanced, Commons or Organic Contracts Those who have contracts that are due to expire at the end of 2019 will have been offered a contract renewal.  Those who haven’t yet accepted or rejected the contract renewal offer on your RPW Online account should have received a letter explaining that the deadline to do so has been extended until 31 December 2019.  It is advised however to complete it by 20 December as the Customer Contact Centre (0300 062 5004) is closed thereafter 20 December 2019
Glastir Capital Works Check your RPW online accounts for any notifications of unclaimed Capital Works.  All unclaimed Capital Works must be completed by 31 December 2019 and claimed no later than 28 January 2020. 31 December 2019
Water Abstraction Licences

You must apply for a water abstraction licence if you take more than 20 cubic meters (4,400 gallons) per day from a surface or groundwater source.  Continuing to abstract this amount of water without submitting an application after 2019 will be a criminal offence.
See here for more information.

31 December 2019

Sheep and Goat annual inventory

It’s that time of year again to complete your Sheep and Goat annual inventory.  All keepers will receive a paper form in the post throughout December.  The annual inventory must be filled in with the number of sheep and goats you own on 1 January 2020.  The form must be returned by 30 January 2020.
For further guidance, please click here.
30 January 2020
BPS Transfer of Entitlements You can now transfer BPS entitlements through sale, lease or inheritance.  It must be accessed through the RPW online account.  The recipient of entitlements transferred by sale or lease must meet the Active Farmer requirements (see SAF Rules for details). 30 April 2020

Public Appointments to HCC Board

The Welsh Government is inviting public appointments for four members of the Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) Board.

It is essential for one of the four positions to be filled by a fluent Welsh speaker and writer.  You will be required for 12 days over a 12 month period and to attend Board meetings which are normally held in Aberystwyth.

See here for further information.  Applications close on 5 January 2020.

FUW Meets Farming Minister to Discuss Tomlinson’s Collapse 

Earlier this month, the Farmers’ Union of Wales met with the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, to discuss the recent collapse of Tomlinson’s Dairies..

The closure of the dairy and the subsequent refusal to collect milk came in with almost immediate effect and left many dairy producers in Wales scrambling to find another processor for their milk.

The FUW remains extremely concerned for its affected members. Our producers were offered no prior warning and the FUW is extremely disappointed that farmers were left in a predicament where they had no one to collect their milk.  

The loss of yet another major processor in Wales is a severe blow to farmers, workers and the industry as a whole at a time when significant efforts are being made to bolster and build on our unique Welsh brand.

The collapse of Tomlinson’s comes after a significant £22 million funding boost in 2017 which saw an expansion of their cold storage facilities and the creation of 70 jobs. 
The immediate concern of the FUW is the desperate situation facing affected producers; some of whom are owed many tens of thousands of pounds.  The FUW has discussed short-term measures with the Minister including prioritising BPS payments and reducing inspection burdens for those affected. . 


 

Latest Research Backs FUW Position on Badger Culling

A research paper, published earlier this month in Scientific Research, sheds further light on the effectiveness of a rigorous and thorough badger culling policy in reducing the incidence of bovine TB in cattle.

Unlike some other research in this field, the study conducted by Downs and co-workers assessed the real effects of the 4 yearly culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset between 2013-2017.  The results overwhelmingly demonstrate the positive impact of this policy on the TB incidence of cattle in these regions.  Indeed, four years after the introduction of badger culling, the level of bovine TB in cattle reduced by 66% and 37% in Gloucestershire and Somerset respectively.  This is consistent with earlier analyses which also showed a reduction in cattle TB incidence 2 years after the onset of culling in these regions.  Moreover, current data on the 2km buffer zone around the edge of the cull areas saw TB incidence decline by 36% in Gloucestershire.  There was no change in the TB incidence in cattle in the buffer zone in somerset and therefore no evidence of the oft-reported negative perturbation effects in either of these buffer zones. 

Alongside cattle control measures, the FUW remains a strong proponent of badger culling as a means to reduce bovine TB levels in cattle. The Welsh cattle industry continues to operate under a plethora of cattle controls and testing regimes which have yet to make a significant impact on the levels of bovine TB in cattle.  The FUW believes that Welsh TB policy should be reviewed and a scientifically tried and tested badger cull policy be established which learns the lessons from the strategy employed by defra in England.


 

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/