Agricultural Policy

FUW welcomes announcement to maintain BPS budget

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has welcomed the announcement made by Minister Lesley Griffiths on 21st December 2020 stating that the total direct payment ceiling has been set at £238 million in order to provide the same level of direct payments to farmers in 2021 as last year.

Given that on 25th November 2020 the UK Government announced that Wales’ 2021-2022 financial year allocation for agriculture and rural development would be £242 million, some £137 million less than what was promised when taking pillar transfer into account, it is pleasing to note that Welsh Government has prioritised direct payments to farmers to provide much needed stability under such difficult circumstances.

FUW reacts to Climate Change Committee reports


The Farmers’ Union of Wales recognises the importance for each and every sector - including agriculture - to play its part in tackling climate change, however it was alarming to read the latest recommendations put forward to Welsh Government for reducing Wales’ emissions between now and 2050 by the Climate Change Committee.

As required under the Environment (Wales) Act 2016, the Committee has recently produced two reports; the Advice Report: The path to a Net Zero Wales and the Progress Report: reducing emissions in Wales, providing Ministers with advice on Wales’ climate targets.

News in brief January 2021

i) Contract for TB cattle vaccination field trials awarded

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has awarded Eville & Jones the contract to run field trials of the CattleBCG TB vaccine and DIVA (Detecting Infected Amongst Vaccinated Animals) skin test.

The field trials will be conducted on behalf of Defra, Welsh Government and Scottish Government using 20 years worth of research into TB vaccines and diagnosis.

Further information can be found on the TB Hub.


ii) Defra allows emergency use of neonicotinoids

Defra has recently granted emergency authorisation for the limited use of the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam for 2021 to control threatening levels of the yellow virus in sugar beet crops.

A further 10 EU Countries have granted the same authorisations despite an almost total ban of neonicotinoids by the EU in 2018. The use of the chemical however will be tightly controlled to minimise any risk to pollinators - a priority of the UK Government.


iii) Aldi set to spend an extra £3.5 billion on British produce

Aldi has revealed plans to spend an additional £3.5 billion on British food and drink products including fresh meat, milk and eggs over the next five years, an expansion to the £8 billion spent on British agriculture in 2019.

They have also extended their immediate payment terms for small suppliers until the end of 2021 due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, allowing more than 1,000 businesses (with an annual turnover of less than £1 million) to receive faster payments.

Update on trade disruptions following the end of the Brexit transition period

Many if not most exporters kept consignments at minimum levels or decided not to export at all in the first week of January. There were nevertheless a range of significant problems for most if not all food sectors, despite volumes being very low

Further details and examples are as follows:

Single Application Form SAF assistance to continue remotely 2021

It’s been nearly a year since the FUW took the unprecedented step to close all county offices.

A particular focus given the time of year has been to ensure that the FUW can continue to provide assistance with the completion and submission of SAF/IACS forms - each year the FUW assists members with Basic Payment Scheme claims totalling more than £60 million, and many millions more in Glastir claims, often providing invaluable help to those who are unable to access the internet services necessary to complete forms.

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation, the many thousands of members who are due to receive FUW assistance with the completion of their 2021 SAF will be offered ‘virtual appointments’. Information on forms will be cross-checked during a telephone call, and where members are unable to access online services, forms will now be submitted on behalf of members by FUW staff.

However, such ‘virtual’ assistance increases the risk of errors occurring, therefore members should get in touch with their local county office immediately if there have been any significant changes to the farm since last year; these include, boundary changes, new land, changes in business partners, inspections since last year and any other changes to land use. Members should also check their RPW online messages for any mapping changes or land inspections as these could have a large impact on completing the SAF.

By letting County Staff know, they will be able to prepare maps and gather information in preparation for your SAF appointment from March onwards.

If you have any concerns, please get in touch with your local county office who will be able to answer your questions.

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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/