Agricultural Policy

News in Brief April 2021

i) SNP commit to following EU farming policies

In its Manifesto, the Scottish National Party (SNP) has committed to follow similar policies to those being developed as part of changes to the EU Common Agricultural Policy, including the current Farm to Fork proposals - in line with its continued desire to re-join the EU.

While half of all farm payments will be focussed on environmental outcomes from 2025, an SNP Government would continue to provide a proportion of direct farm payments if the Internal Market Act allows - an approach which stands in stark contrast to the positions in Wales and England, where governments have pledged to phase out direct support, with English payments due to be cut from this year. This highlights one of the many grave concerns that the FUW has raised since the Brexit referendum, as under current plans Wales’ farmers would receive payments solely for public goods while being subject to unfair competition from those in Scotland and the EU receiving direct support.

ii) Scottish beef farmers continue to receive headage payments

The Scottish Government recently confirmed that its beef farmers would continue to receive a headage payment in 2021 as part of its Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme.

Animals born on a Scottish holding of at least 75% beef bred and kept for more than 30 days will be eligible for £98.92 (mainland) or £144.27 (island) per head out of the £40 million budget in an attempt to sustain beef herd numbers.

Guidance published for Water Resources ‘NVZ’ Regulations

While the FUW continues to negotiate the best way forward to tackle the recently introduced Water Resources (Control of Agricultural Pollution) (Wales) regulations, the first stage of changes were introduced on 1st April 2021 after an attempt to block the regulations failed by just a few votes.

Welsh Government has published guidance for farmers and landowners to comply with every one of these regulations including the vast amounts of calculations that will be required from 1st January 2023 as things currently stand.

Farming Connect has also published the first two of a series of videos to explain the regulations that were introduced on 1st April:

  1. The Control of Agricultural Pollution Regulations
  2. Spreading of Fertiliser: Requirements from 1 April 2021

The FUW wishes to remind members that they can receive 10% off consultancy fees with Kebek - Rural Environmental Services, who can be contacted via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The FUW will maintain to keep members informed of any developments in regard to changes or further guidance of these regulations.

NAAC announce special concession for overseas shearers

The National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) has announced that international sheep shearers have been granted a special concession to be able to enter the UK for 2021 and 2022.

Sheep shearers from overseas offer a vital source of experienced labour and whilst it will remain difficult for many to travel into the UK this year due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, the concession will allow for a proportion to come and assist UK contractors for the next two seasons.

To ensure that shearers, wool handlers and farmers can cooperate safely, the NAAC - with the support of the FUW and other industry bodies - has liaised with the UK Government to publish a revised Covid Shearing Checklist.

Farmers are encouraged to get in touch with their shearers early to plan work and ensure that shearing can take place as smoothly as possible in line with the Covid guidance. Anyone struggling to find shearers can also use the Shearing Register.

For further information, please contact Jill Hewitt, NAAC Chief Executive via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

FCN, NFYFC and DPJ Foundation join forces to support young farmers’ mental health


The Farming Community Network (FCN), National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) and The DPJ Foundation have joined forces to be able to support young farmers’ mental health and wellbeing through new Rural+ training modules.

This ‘Supporting Together’ initiative will receive funding from the Westminster Foundation which aims to encourage young people in farming families to take early action to plan for the changes that will shape the future agricultural industry.

The NFYFC and FCN have worked in partnership to develop and deliver mental health awareness training to Young Farmers’ Clubs in Wales and England through the Rural+ initiative since 2013, and now the DPJ Foundation will provide further support to help develop the new mental health training modules aimed at 10-26 year old YFC members and 16-25 year old agricultural students ahead of their first work placement within the industry.

The training will focus on understanding stress and anxiety, managing personal mental health, how to talk about mental health and seeking support and supporting others.

For more information, please contact Vicki Beers, National Partnerships Manager via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

GWCT 2021 Big Farmland Bird Count biggest yet

With the support from the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW), this year's Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) Big Farmland Bird Count saw the highest number of participants and amount of land area covered since the initiative began in 2014.

Despite adverse weather during the counting period between 5th and 21st February 2021, participation in Wales increased by 37% on last year to a total of 115 farmers, recording 107 species over more than 34,000 acres.

The Big Farmland Bird Count asks land managers to spend 30 minutes recording the different bird species that they see on their land. It provides farmers and landowners with a simple method for assessing the state of birdlife on their farm each year alongside long term conservation works. Likewise, it highlights the positive work done by farmers and landowners in helping reverse the decline in farmland birds and demonstrates the long-term commitment of Welsh farmers and landowners to conservation alongside productive land use.

A total of 22 species from the Red List for Birds of Conservation Concern were recorded in this year’s count. The five most abundant birds seen across Wales were woodpigeon, starling, chaffinch, fieldfare and lapwing with a total of over 9,200 counted, making up over 36% of the total number of birds recorded.

The average farm size of those taking part was 299 acres with 58% of those being part of some form of agri-environment scheme.

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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/