Agricultural Policy

News In Brief

i) DPJ Foundation Receives Welsh Government Funding
The DPJ Foundation, FUW President’s chosen charity for the period 2019-2021, has received nearly £50,000 in funding from the Welsh Government to extend the support it provides.
The FUW is pleased that the funding will enable them to deliver free ‘Mental Health First Aid’ training and extend it’s ‘Share the Load’ counselling service to North Wales.  More than 150 individuals have already been trained by the Foundation.
ii) HCC Join Transport For Wales To Promote Welsh Food Producers
Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) has joined forces with Transport for Wales to promote Welsh food producers and their products.  Welsh products such as beef, lamb, pork sausages, cheese, biscuits and beverages will be available on buffet trolleys and hot meals for first class passengers across Wales’ transport sector.
HCC is also providing reading material for travellers to learn how these Welsh foodstuffs are sustainably produced and the pedigree of PGI Welsh lamb and beef.  
iii) First Minister Heads To Japan on Trade Mission
First Minister, Mark Drakeford, flew to Japan this month to introduce 17 Welsh companies to potential partners and new opportunities and promote Wales as a tourist destination.
Welsh exports to Japan were worth almost £250 million in 2018 which was a 25% increase on 2017 figures - 60 Japanese owned companies are present in Wales and employ more than 6,000 people.

iv) FUW To Attend BeefQ Taste Panel

BeefQ is a project which aims to increase the eating quality and value of Welsh Beef production through an enhanced carcase quality grading system.  The system is based on the Meat Standards Australia (MSA) model and the project held its first consumer tasting event at the Royal Welsh Show earlier in the year.

Event participants sampling Welsh beef are questioned on issues such as their eating experiences and willingness to pay for the product.  Data is then gathered and analysed to inform the industry about factors such as consumer preferences. 

The Farmers’ Union of Wales will be participating in these events which will involve data from around 1200 consumers.  The uncertainties of Brexit mean that projects, such as BeefQ, will be of value if they can improve consumer education surrounding the excellent quality and stand

FUW Events on WG Sustainable Farming Scheme Continue

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) continues to hold meetings for members and other interested parties across Wales to discuss the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Farming and our Land consultation.
The consultation, launched by Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths in July, outlines proposals for future farm and rural support which have been revised in light of the comments received in response to the 2018 Brexit and our Land consultation.
It proposes that future support should be designed around the principle of sustainability in a way which brings together the ‘wide-ranging and significant economic, environmental and social contribution of farmers’, through a single Sustainable Farming Scheme based on the principles of providing a meaningful and stable income stream; rewarding outcomes in a fair way; paying for both new and existing sustainable practices; and flexibility allowing it to apply to every type of farm.
The FUW welcomes the fact that the consultation document acknowledges many of the concerns raised by respondents to last years Brexit and our Land consultation, and focuses on farmers and food producers.
Concerns highlighted by the FUW last year about the dangers of setting a fixed timetable and ploughing ahead with proposals at a time of complete uncertainty over Brexit and its impacts seem to have been taken on board.  The FUW also stressed that undertaking detailed modelling and economic assessments of proposals, before coming to any decision,  was imperative and this also appears to have been taken on board.
The FUW is urging anyone with an interest in the future of agriculture, and the Welsh rural economy, to attend these HSBC sponsored meetings to discuss  the proposals in depth.  Details of the remaining meetings can be obtained via the local FUW offices. 


Farming Provides an Answer to Climate Change and Food Crisis says FUW

The FUW recently met with the Welsh Brexit Minister, Jeremy Miles AM, to reiterate the Union’s long-standing position that food production and caring for the environment can, and do, go hand in hand. 
At present, around 40% of the food that is being consumed in this country is imported and a fifth of the fresh foods imported come from areas that are threatened with climate chaos.
The FUW believes that farmers here in Wales are the answer to that problem. Welsh farmers support local livestock markets, maintain the local rural economy, support local jobs, are custodians of the environment and produce healthy, safe and traceable food. 

The UK has a target of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, yet our food system is vulnerable and dominated by complex global supply chains.  Our farmers have the knowledge, skill, and willingness to produce sustainable food, that works in harmony with the environment but this could be hindered by over zealous policies which do not recognise or value the fact that food production and environmental protection can operate side by side.
In order to safeguard the environment and protect domestic food security, the FUW believes that there is merit in food that has been produced locally; food that has been produced in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. 

By supporting countries who produce food to standards that would be illegal in this country, there is a danger of displacing adverse climate impacts to other countries whilst simultaneously over-regulating and hindering our domestic producers and reducing domestic food production.

The environmental audit committee has only recently called on the UK Government to set out a clear plan for how the UK’s food supplies could be protected from climate emergency and explain how food might be affected by Brexit, as well as asking Ministers to ensure that food provided by the Government is “sustainable by default”. 

Welsh producers continue to look for ways to positively contribute to nature, exploring ways to be cleaner and greener, but they need to be allowed to do their job. 

Mid Wales Rewilding Plans Meet Challenges

In response to rising concerns over proposals contained in Rewilding Britain’s ‘Summit to Sea’ project, the project boundary of which includes around 155,000 acres of land in Ceredigion and Montgomeryshire, an open meeting was held in late July to discuss the project plans.

The 160 or so people who attended expressed major worries regarding the fact that the project was instigated and is effectively run by Rewilding Britain - a charity which wants to rewild a quarter of the UK.  It was felt that the objectives of the organisation were in direct conflict with agriculture, particularly in the uplands, as well as being damaging for conservation and species which rely on sustainable agriculture.

It was also noted that considerable damage was being caused to relationships between local and agricultural communities and Summit to Sea ‘partner’ organisations such as the RSPB and the Woodland Trust - bodies which often share a great deal of common ground and common objectives with rural communities in relation to conservation.

In light of these concerns, those present voted overwhelmingly in support of a motion that Rewilding Britain should not be involved in any project in the area.

Those present also voted overwhelmingly to establish a committee comprising representation from all the communities encompassed by the Summit to Sea project area boundary in order to fight against the project in its current form.

In recent months, Natural Resources Wales and the Waterloo Foundation, both of which were originally listed as partners in the Summit to Sea project by Rewilding Britain, have confirmed that they are not in fact partners, and in September Machynlleth-based company Ecodyfi withdrew its support, saying: "The project reflects the partners' focus on the environment, and pays much less attention to the cultural, linguistic, social and economic aspects of sustainable development, which are fundamental to the whole community."


New Brexit proposal still leaves Wales ‘out in the cold’ says FUW


The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) says the UK Government’s new proposals to solve the Northern Irish impasse would still leave Wales and Welsh farmers ‘out in the cold’ - even if the EU accepted the offer.
Even if the EU accepts the offer in spite of the Good Friday agreement, it makes no difference to the FUW’s core concerns regarding the impact on Welsh agriculture and the Welsh economy.  The Union remains clear in its view that the UK as a whole should remain within both the Single Market and Customs Union in order to minimise severe economic impacts.
Trying to address valid Northern Irish concerns should not be perceived as a ‘new deal’ for the UK as a whole.   Indeed, this does nothing to stop the worries inherent in the original Withdrawal Deal, which would in any case only apply for a very short period.  Nor would it make any difference to the vague and open-ended Political Declaration which relates to how Wales and the UK would trade with the EU in the long term.
The FUW believes that the most sensible option would be for the whole of the UK to stay within the single market and the customs union.
Since January the FUW has advocated withdrawing Article 50 in order to return to a sensible negotiation timetable and put the ball back in our court so we can negotiate a sensible Brexit deal.
But there is also the option the Union has advocated since the June 2016 Referendum, which is supported by the EU, which is to stay in the Single Market and Customs Union to minimise what even the Government’s own analyses say would be severe economic impacts.  This would respect the referendum outcome while preventing damage to our economy and rural communities.