Agricultural Policy

British Heritage Sheep – New Tastes from old Traditions

The National Sheep Association (NSA) recently launched its report on the British Heritage Sheep Project.  The scheme, which has widespread backing, including from the Farmers’ Union of Wales, aims to improve meat sales of our 60 or so British native sheep breeds by creating an umbrella organisation to promote and support producers and retailers.

It is primarily aimed at informing consumers about each piece of meat’s ABC - A being for age (lamb, hogget or mutton); B being for the native breed; and C being the Countryside where the animal was reared.

Research by YouGov found that two groups of consumers were particularly interested in knowing more about the ABC of each animal.  These were young people, who eat very little sheep meat, and those who eat meat but currently not sheep meat.  Taste trials carried out by the NSA have identified that meat from older sheep have definitive taste and texture differences between native breeds.

The British Heritage Sheep Company will be formed in the New Year.  More information is available here.

Beaver Reintroduction

Residents of the Dyfi Valley are being consulted with regarding a proposal to reintroduce beavers to the area over a five year period.

The consultation is being run by the Wildlife Trusts, and its outcome is likely to set precedents for the whole of Wales.

Anyone wishing to comment on the proposals can email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Importing And Exporting Animals And Animal Products Has Changed

New European regulations, Smarter Rules for Safer Food (SRSF), that replace 70 previous European regulations in order to improve health and safety standards were introduced on 14 December 2019.

Included within the SRSF are the Official Controls Regulation (OCR) and the Plant Health Regulation (PHR), both of which now apply, whilst the Animal Health Regulation (AHR) will apply from 21 April 2021.  These new regulations will apply whilst the UK remains a member of the EU and during any transition period, and be included within the Withdrawal Act under a no deal scenario.

Border Inspection Posts and Designated Points of Entry are now being redesignated as Border Control Posts (BCPs).  Importers are required to give the BCPs at least one working day’s notice prior to import, or when not possible, a minimum of 4 hours.  They also need to complete a Common Health Entry Document (CHED) which replaces the Common Veterinary Entry Document and Common Entry Document.

TRACES NT is the new system for notifying imports coming from outside the EU.  Details on how to register can be found here.  Imports which have been notified before 14 December on the previous TRACES Classic system that have arrived on or after 14 December MUST be re-registered on the new system.  Those  who used TRACES Classic for within EU trading must continue to do so.

For further information, please see here.

For any technical help required with the registration, email any questions to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

New Research Initiative To Play Part In Sustainable Agriculture

A new research initiative funded as part of the European Social Fund’s KESS 2 programme at Bangor University and backed by Hybu Cig Cymru will provide opportunities for Universities and the industry to support collaborative research projects towards sustainable farming practices.

Applications are open - the funding will be available to three fully-funded PhD scholarships.  Those successful will be supported by Dr. Prysor Williams, Bangor University, and will research into:

  • Meeting environmental targets while maintaining profitability for the beef and sheep sectors of Wales
  • Strategies for meeting targets for ammonia emissions and nitrate leaching reduction for Wales beef and sheep farms
  • Strategies to reach zero carbon sheep and beef production on Welsh farms

There is also funding available for a PhD studentship for ‘Determining the potential for precision grazing to improve the resilience of livestock production systems.’  Applications are open until 12 noon on 20 January 2020.

The principle of sustainable agriculture has become increasingly important since the proposals made by Welsh Government in the Brexit and Our Land consultation in 2018.  To that, and this year’s Sustainable Farming and Our Land follow-up, the Farmers’ Union of Wales has outlined numerous concerns over the impracticality and overoptimism of introducing such a sustainable farming scheme alongside removing Single Farm Payments - when considering that 80% of farm income in Wales currently comes from direct payments.

Despite this, initiatives such as the above that play a part in finding the balance between sustainable farming practices and maintaining a profitable farm business will be essential if such a scheme is introduced in Wales.  The Welsh Government must however realise that moving towards a more sustainable agricultural industry and working towards zero emissions will take decades.

Know Where You Stand With General Licences

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) have recently reviewed the current General Licences for controlling certain bird species in Wales.  General Licences allow for certain actions to be carried out for controlling a list of bird species without the need to apply for a specific licence.  However, you must ensure that you understand and comply with the conditions of the respective licence in use.

General Licenses GL001, GL002, GL003, GL004 and GL016 were considered unlawful under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and therefore have been revoked and replaced with:

  • GL001 – Licence to kill or take certain wild birds to prevent serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables or fruit or to prevent the spread of disease to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables or fruit. Species covered: Carrion Crow, Magpie, Jackdaw, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Canadian Goose.
  • GL002 – Licence to kill or take certain wild birds for the purpose of preserving public health and preventing the spread of disease to humans. Species covered: Feral Pigeon
  • GL004 – Licence to kill or take certain wild birds for the purpose of conserving wild birds. Species covered: Carrion Crow, Magpie, Jackdaw, Jay
  • GL016 - Licence to take and release alive certain wild birds from food premises for the purpose of preserving public health and public safety. Species covered: Blackbird, Dunnock, Robin, House Sparrow, Starling, Song Thrush, Blue Tit, Great tit, Pied Wagtail

For more information click here.  If you are required to control a species which is not listed due to health and safety, conservation or to prevent damage to livestock, a specific licence must be applied for here.

General Licences remain in place until 31 December 2019.  It is proposed that these Licences, which are reviewed annually, will be reissued on 1 January 2020 without any significant changes, followed by an evidence based mid-year review.

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: 


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:

Red Tractor Updated Covid-19 position here:

Livestock Auctioneers Association LAA - 25/03/2020:

Business Wales (including details of coronavirus support for businesses):

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) available through participating lenders:

National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) guidance on Coronavirus:

National Milk Recording services 24/03/2020:

Senedd Research Blog: