Agricultural Policy

FUW Discusses Race to Zero with UK’s High-Level Climate Action Champion

Both Wales' Farming Unions - the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) and NFU Cymru - held a successful joint virtual roundtable meeting with the UK’s High-Level Climate Action Champion, Nigel Topping.

In addition to wider discussions around climate change, the roundtable event provided a platform to discuss the international ‘Race to Zero’ campaign. This campaign for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery was launched on World Environment Day, and will run up to the UN Climate Change Conference in November 2020.

‘Race to Zero’ examines how each and every sector can contribute to a zero carbon recovery and agriculture is considered as part of the discussion but equally - and potentially more so - the solution.

Like every other industry, farmers must work to mitigate climate change but we must do so through innovation and by removing obstacles in ways which preserve and enhance family farming businesses and do not work in opposition to them.


FUW highlights importance of maintaining food standards with Retailers

The importance of our domestic food supply system has been brought into sharp focus during the Covid-19 pandemic; including the important role played by retailers and supermarkets.

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) wrote to all major supermarkets during the early stages of the pandemic - at a time when empty shelves simply demonstrated the importance of food security and resilience - requesting for them to do all they could to maintain farmgate prices following the closure of the foodservice sector and consequently the loss in demand for many agricultural products.

The agricultural sector now faces a period of uncertainty and, as the UK Agricultural Bill progresses through the House of Lords, the FUW continues to lobby for Clause 2 to be introduced into the Bill in order to protect our home producers from sub-standard food imports.

The FUW continues to liaise with supermarkets on this issue and has recently written to all major supermarkets highlighting the importance of maintaining our world-leading food standards post-Brexit and and asking them to continue to support British producers by committing to not selling - not only chlorinated chicken or hormone-injected beef - but any food products produced to lower animal health and welfare, plant health and environmental protection standards than those adhered to by domestic producers.

FUW welcomes extension to free BVD testing in Wales

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed the news that free BVD testing for cattle farmers in Wales has been extended until 31 March 2021. The testing, which is provided through Gwaredu BVD, supports both youngstock testing and the hunt for persistently infected animals in order to help herds eliminate the disease and achieve BVD free status.

More than 8,300 herds in Wales are now part of the programme and financial support is available to hunt PIs until the end of 2022.

The FUW, along with other industry bodies, continues to work towards those measures which will help Wales eliminate BVD. This extension allows more time for cattle herds to engage in this free testing programme in order to ensure that they have prepared their herds for the possibility of BVD legislation next year.

FUW Welcomes Vaccine Trials as Step Forward in Bovine TB Control

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has welcomed the news that bovine TB vaccine trials are due to begin shortly in England and Wales.

The trials form part of a longer-term strategy towards possible vaccine rollout by 2025 and will be conducted over the next 4 years on behalf of the Welsh Government, the Scottish Government and Defra.

The start of vaccine trials represents many years of research and development into bovine TB vaccines and diagnostic tests.

Cattle vaccination continues to be one of the tools in the tool box that have, so far, been unavailable to our members and the FUW welcomes the news that work on this aspect of bovine TB control is moving forward.
However, vaccination is not a silver bullet and it remains just one method of bovine TB control. The FUW continues to support a holistic approach to bovine TB control in Wales which is guided by science and not politics.

News in Brief July 2020

Small abattoirs to receive funding through Agriculture Bill

Ministers confirmed that slaughtering will be recognised as one of the ‘ancillary services’ eligible for financial support as the Agriculture Bill passed through the House of Lords.

There are currently 62 small abattoirs across the UK according to the Food Standards Agency, down from 75 in 2016 and 96 in 2007.

Red meat production down on 2019 but on the rise

DEFRA’s UK statistics show that 987,800 lambs were taken to slaughter in June - up 9% on June last year - although throughput for the first half of 2020 remains 10% below 2019 levels due to dry conditions in Spring delaying the finishing of stock.

Prime cattle slaughterings in June totalled 175,500 animals (80,100 tonnes), up 10% on the same time last year and up 11.5% by volume.

EU leaders strike a deal on a coronavirus recovery package

EU leaders have struck a deal on a coronavirus recovery package worth a total of 750 Billion Euros aimed at relieving the pressure of recovering from the pandemic. Around half of the fund (€390bn) will go towards the ‘economically weakened’ EU Member States although Germany and France originally proposed a sum of 500 Billion Euros.

The leaders have also agreed on the EU’s budget for the next seven years which is worth just over 1 Trillion Euros.

New Red Tractor Crops Sector chair appointed

Former NFU Deputy President, Guy Smith, has been appointed as the new Red Tractor Combinable Crops and Sugar Beet Sector chair, succeeding Laurence Matthews who will come to the end of his second term in November.