FUW webinar puts spotlight on Ash Dieback

The Anglesey branch of the Farmers’ Union of Wales is hosting a webinar on Ash Dieback, which is open to all members of the Union. The event will be held on Zoom on Thursday 19 November at 7pm. 

Jacob Milner, Ash Dieback Coordinator for Anglesey County Council will be giving a talk to provide more detail about the symptoms, how to spot the signs, what action to take, and also the landowners responsibilities if they have received a notice from the local authority.

FUW Anglesey County Executive Officer Alaw Jones said: “The disease is being discovered on many trees on the island of Anglesey and there seems to be a big lack of knowledge in how to deal with it. We are therefore encouraging members to join us for this free event to find out all of the essential information needed.” 

To book your place at the webinar, members need to contact the Anglesey County Office on 01248 750 250 or via email on  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Cautious welcome given to UK Government decision to extend Trade and Agriculture Commission role

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has given a cautious welcome to the decision to extend the role of the Trade and Agriculture Commission and place it on a statutory footing, describing it as a welcome step towards addressing concerns over substandard food imports.

The UK government announced on November 1 that it had decided to extend the commission past its previous fixed term and give it a more active role through a new legislative underpinning, to be reviewed every three years.

Under the new plans, the commission will produce a report on the impact on animal welfare and agriculture of any free trade deal negotiated by the UK government after the end of the EU transition period, which will be laid in Parliament before the start of the 21-day scrutiny period under the terms of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act.

The commission was originally set up in July 2020 to provide advice on trade policies the UK Government should adopt to secure opportunities for UK farmers, while ensuring the sector remains competitive and that animal welfare and environmental standards in food production are not undermined, but was due to be disbanded at the end of the year.

Deadline looms for BPS Support Scheme applications, FUW reminds members

Those farmers who have submitted an application for the Basic Payment Scheme via the Single Application Form (SAF) 2020 are being reminded by the Farmers’ Union of Wales, that time to apply for a BPS 2020 Support Scheme payment is running out, with the application window closing on Friday, 27 November.

The scheme will pay a loan of up to 90% of the business’ anticipated BPS claim value from 7 December to successful applicants whose full BPS claim is not processed for payment by 1 December. As this is an opt in scheme, farmers have to apply for the loan through their RPW Online account.

FUW Pembrokeshire CEO Rebecca Voyle said: “It is expected that the loan payments will be made during the week starting 7 December 2020 and all BPS loan payments will be made direct to farmers bank accounts.”

The loan value paid to farmers will be a maximum of 90% of their estimated 2020 BPS payment, which will be based on the area declared for BPS on the SAF 2020 and the number of payment entitlements held on 15 May 2020.

“I would like to urge all eligible farmers to consider making an application before the deadline as there will be no further opportunity to apply for a BPS loan after the 27 November.

“If you have any questions about completing your BPS Loan application you can either contact RPW’s Customer Contact Centre on 0300 062 5004, or your local county office,” added Mrs Voyle.

FUW outlines key points from Mental Health Conference to Minister

On the eve of World Mental Health day (Friday, October 9) the Farmers’ Union of Wales hosted a virtual All Wales Mental Health conference, which explored the wider context of poor mental health in rural communities and what steps need to be taken by Government, decision makers and  policy shapers to address the situation, especially as Covid-19 is likely to put further pressure not just on people’s mental but also their finances. 

Speakers for the morning session, which was chaired by Farmers Guardian Chief Reporter Abi Kay, included Sara Lloyd, Team Leader, South Ceredigion Community Mental Health Team; Cath Fallon, Head of Enterprise and Community Animation Enterprise Directorate, Monmouthshire County Council; Lee Philips, Wales Manager, Money and Pensions Service; John Forbes-Jones, Corporate Manager Mental Wellbeing Services, Ceredigion County Council and Vicky Beers from The Farming Community Network, as well as North Wales farmer and DPJ Foundation volunteer Sam Taylor.

The afternoon session, which is chaired by well known TV Presenter Alun Elidyr, took a practical approach and heard from various dedicated mental health charities offering hands-on advice for those who are supporting a loved one going through mental issues as well as those who are currently experiencing poor mental health.

The event was also supported by Welsh Government’s Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs,Lesley Griffiths, and New Zealand farmer and mental health champion Doug Avery through video message.

Remember, remember - livestock and pets don’t like 5th November

With bonfire night fast approaching and official displays cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions, the Farmers’ Union of Wales is urging people to remember the distress fireworks and sky lanterns can cause to livestock and pets and reminds them of the dangers posed by bonfires.

“Official firework and bonfire displays have of course been cancelled this year due to the Covid-19 restrictions and we therefore call on people to stick to the firework safety code at all times, to minimise the risk to livestock, pets and humans,” said FUW Deputy President Ian Rickman.

“This time of year poses many dangers to animals and children – so don’t let negligence and ignorance be the cause for a real-life horror,” he added.

Animals in general are not fond of the noise of fireworks and can become quite anxious during this time of year. Therefore, the FUW urges people to be considerate and not let them off near livestock.

“It is also a good idea to make sure that your pets have been micro-chipped by a vet and that the details on the chip are up to date prior to bonfire night, just in case they go missing,” said Ian Rickman.

It is also advisable to give neighbours a few days notice of your firework display, particularly if they are elderly, have young children or pets. 

“We also remind people that sky lanterns have been banned on all public land by all councils across Wales, as they pose significant dangers to livestock and are, of course, a considerable fire safety risk,” he added.

Technical BPS improvements welcome but changes to RDP objectives wrong

In responding to the Welsh Government’s latest Sustainable Farming consultation, the Farmers’ Union of Wales has supported a number of proposed technical changes to the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) - but is adamant that plans to move Rural Development principles and objectives away from supporting farming, rural economies and jobs are wrong.

The Sustainable Farming and our Land: Simplifying Agricultural Support consultation set out eleven technical proposals relating to the BPS, which is expected to remain in place for a number of years while a new ‘Sustainable Farming Scheme’ (SFS) is developed. 

However, a second section of the consultation proposed radical changes to the principles, mission, objectives and priorities of the Rural Development Programme (RDP).

“Around two thirds of Wales’ total BPS and RDP budget is paid to farmers through the Basic Payment Scheme, so the RDP currently accounts for about a third of the budget,” said FUW President Glyn Roberts.

Schemes funded through the RDP include the Glastir schemes, Farming Connect, the Timber Business Investment Scheme, the Food Business Investment Scheme and LEADER.

Rejection to protect food import standards a betrayal of the public and farmers

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has reacted with anger and dismay at the House of Commons rejection to enshrine in law measures that would protect consumers and producers from sub-standard food imports.

MPs voted by 332 votes to 279 - a majority 53 - to reject the amendment to the Agricultural Bill which would have ensured food under any future trade deal would have to meet UK animal welfare and food safety rules.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “This Government sacrificed our industry at the altar, paving the way for lower-quality food to come into this country, rather than standing by their manifesto commitments. 

“We believe it was a grave error on their part to oppose the amendments in this way and once again their promises to look after our industry and protect consumers and producers alike are just empty words.”

Mr Roberts added that blocking the amendment, which would protect UK farmers and consumers from food produced to lower health, welfare and environmental standards, at a time when the importance of protecting the food security and health of the Nation was at the top of the agenda, beggars belief.

Release of beavers into Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve enclosure short sighted move, FUW says

The Montgomeryshire branch of the Farmers’ Union of Wales has called plans to release beavers into an enclosure at the Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve a short sighted move.

Responding to the plans, FUW Montgomeryshire County Executive Officer Emyr Wyn Davies said: “We believe that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that this animal does not pose a threat to livestock and the people living here, including bringing disease into the area. That’s just one of many concerns and we are extremely worried about this short sighted move.”

Other concerns raised by the FUW about the reintroduction of the beaver include the animals damming watercourses, which could severely impact the adjacent agriculture land; the risk of the animals escaping their enclosure and the low lying levels of the Dyfi, which are already prone to flooding through natural means - the introduction of an animal which dams watercourses by instinct is likely to exacerbate the flooding propensity for this area.

“We must also consider what happens if a landholding in close proximity to the proposed enclosure enters a Welsh Government agri-environment scheme to increase biodiversity habitats by tree planting and on a Welsh Government inspection is found to be in breach of contract because of vegetation damage by beaver activity - which organisation compensates the at loss landowner? Furthermore, will NRW have a legal obligation to monitor and clear debris entering water courses as a direct result of beavers felling timber?” Mr Emyr Wyn Davies questioned.

He added that whilst the farming community is supportive of increasing biodiversity and habitats, this must not come at the expense of people living in an area. “Let’s also not forget the ambulances getting through to Bronglais Hospital on a stretch of road next to the proposed release site that they've only just stopped flooding whenever it rains - the alternative is a 60 mile detour!”

Don’t forget to check your RPW account - FUW reminds members

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is reminding those farmers that have Glastir contracts to check their Rural Payments Wales (RPW) accounts for notifications and offers of extensions to their contracts. 

“A letter would have been issued to all those where this is relevant in mid September giving notice, but the actual contracts for acceptance have been issued on various dates thereafter,” said FUW Meirionnydd County Executive Officer Huw Jones. 

The notifications relate to Glastir Advanced, Glastir Organic and Glastir Commons, where the contract comes to an end on 31 December 2020.   

“All those in this position should be offered an extension, and farmers  have 21 days from the date the contracts appear online to accept the offer. It is extremely important to check the content of these contracts so that they are correct, and it is imperative that this is done within the 21 days in order to avoid any risk of being unable to extend the contract,” he added. 

If any farmer wishes to obtain any advice or assistance, they can contact FUW County Offices throughout Wales.

 

Angry reaction to NBA proposals expected in FUW livestock and hill farming meeting

Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) President Glyn Roberts says he expects angry reactions at a forthcoming meeting of the FUW’s livestock and hill farming committees to a National Beef Association (NBA) proposal that the definition of prime cattle should be restricted to animals below 28 months old and that a “carbon tax” should be introduced for animals slaughtered above that age.

Mr Roberts, who runs a beef and sheep farm with his daughter Beca in Ysbyty Ifan, North Wales, said: “We have received many calls from angry members since the NBA launched its proposals.

“Many highlighted the particular impact the proposal would have for traditional breeds and certain farming systems which are of particular importance to the environment.”

Mr Roberts said that while the carbon benefits of finishing animals more quickly were well known for certain farming systems, for other more traditional systems where animals are finished over a longer period such a black and white proposal did not make sense from an environmental perspective, including in relation to carbon.

“These concerns will no doubt be raised at a joint meeting of our Livestock, Wool and Marts and Hill Farming and Marginal Land Committees later this month. While I do not want to preempt the outcome of that meeting, I can guarantee that there will be some very angry reactions to the NBA’s proposals in line with those already expressed by the Scottish Beef Association,” added Mr Roberts.

FUW Meirionnydd branch keeps spotlight on local flooding issues

The Farmers’ Union of Wales Meirionnydd branch is keeping the spotlight on local flooding issues and has taken local MP Liz Saville-Roberts on a tour of hot-spots that urgently require attention from responsible authorities and Natural Resources Wales (NRW).

Visiting several areas in North Meirionnydd, officials discussed work that urgently needs to be carried out within internal drainage areas, and especially the River Gaseg and the River Croesor in Llanfrothen, the Dwyryd River in Maentwrog, and the River Glyn near Talsarnau.

Speaking after the meeting, FUW Meirionnydd County Executive Officer Huw Jones said: “We had a very good meeting with Liz Saville-Roberts and thank her for her continued support. We made it clear during our tour of these hot-spots that there are several matters which require urgent attention of NRW within the IDD. 

“The Land Drainage Act 1991 shows clearly that Natural Resources Wales have a statutory responsibility as the Drainage Board to maintain and improve the drainage within the district. 

“There are large areas of agricultural land currently under serious risk of further flooding, and it is imperative that work is carried out as a matter of priority. We will continue to keep the spotlight on this issue until it is resolved and keep members informed of the progress.”

FUW’s All Wales Mental Health Conference supported by top panel of speakers

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is hosting an All Wales Mental Health Conference on the eve of World Mental Health Day to shed light on the wider context of poor mental health in rural communities.

Taking place online via Zoom on Friday 9 October, the conference will hear from a top panel of speakers.  The morning session will explore the wider context of poor mental health in rural communities and what steps need to be taken by Government, decision makers and policy shapers to address the situation, especially as Covid-19 has put further pressure not just on people’s mental health but also their finances.

Speakers for the morning session, which starts at 10.30am and is chaired by Farmers Guardian Chief Reporter Abi Kay, include Sara Lloyd, Team Leader, South Ceredigion Community Mental Health Team; Cath Fallon, Head of Enterprise and Community Animation Enterprise Directorate, Monmouthshire County Council; Lee Philips, Wales Manager, Money and Pensions Service; John Forbes-Jones, Corporate Manager Mental Wellbeing Services, Ceredigion County Council and Vicky Beers from The Farming Community Network.

The afternoon session, which starts at 2pm, will take a practical approach and hear from various dedicated mental health charities offering hands-on advice for those who are supporting a loved one going through mental issues as well as those who are currently experiencing poor mental health.

Speakers for the afternoon session, which is chaired by well known TV Presenter Alun Elidyr, include Gareth Davies, Chief Executive Officer, Tir Dewi; David Williams, Wales Regional Director, the Farming Community Network; Kate Miles, Charity Manager, The DPJ Foundation and Linda Jones, Regional Manager, Wales RABI.

The event is also supported by Welsh Government’s Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs,Lesley Griffiths, and New Zealand farmer and mental health champion Doug Avery through video message.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “Poor mental health and suicide in rural and farming communities is sadly an increasing problem and one that the FUW has made a commitment to tackle. We understand that mental health problems can affect a person’s ability to process information and solve problems, deplete their energy and motivation, and increase impulsive behaviour. Whilst the symptoms are being treated, the root causes of these issues are not so frequently addressed. This conference will therefore go beyond the usual points of discussions and explore the subject further. It is an open event and anyone with an interest in mental health is welcome to join us virtually on the day.”

Those wanting register for the event can do so here: https://www.fuw.org.uk/en/all-wales-mental-health-conference 

Let wool be your first choice FUW encourages

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is encouraging consumers, politicians, the construction, craft and fashion industries to make wool their first choice ahead of Wool Week 2020 (5 - 18 October), which aims to highlight wool’s natural performance qualities and ecological benefits.

Speaking from his Carmarthenshire farm, FUW Deputy President Ian Rickman said: “Every year our sheep will produce a new fleece and they will do so as long as there is grass for them to graze on, making wool an excellent renewable fibre source. That is especially true if compared to synthetic fibres, which require oil and refineries and are a non-renewable resource for fibre production.”

Mr Rickman added that sheep farmers actively work to safeguard the environment and improve efficiency in livestock production. The pull on natural resources and reductions required in the use of fossil fuels, he says, means that consumers will have to look at their longer-term choices. 

“We feed the nation with sustainable and well cared for lamb and take our responsibility to look after the environment seriously. Fabrics such as polyester, nylon, acrylic, and other synthetic fibres are all forms of plastic and make up about 60 percent of the material that makes up our clothes worldwide. 

“The tiny plastic particles shed from our clothes take a very long time to degrade in the soil and are ingested by fish and other animals. We, therefore, need to make choices on an individual level in terms of what we consume - be it food or clothes.”

He added that whilst it was encouraging that the Welsh Government has pledged to consider more British wool for insulation in public buildings, it has to be more than just a pledge.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has had disastrous consequences for the wool industry, especially the export market. But we believe that if there is a will and full commitment by Governments to do the right thing, the benefits will be felt by our entire environment as well as sheep farmers.”

Lords backing on food standards welcomed by FUW

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has welcomed the House of Lords backing an amendment tabled by Labour’s Lord Grantchester, which would require all food imported as part of trade deals to match the UK’s standards.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “Millions of members of the general public have backed campaigns, including our own, to ensure food imported into the UK is produced to the environmental, animal health and welfare standards required by law of our own farmers. We therefore welcome the Lords' support for this principle, which shouldn't be up for debate."

Mr Roberts said that the coronavirus pandemic has exposed our vulnerability to rapid changes in global supply changes and brought to light how we must properly balance domestic and imported food supplies. 

"The Lords have reflected the clear view of the people on a subject that has united farmers, environmentalists and animal rights campaigners, and MPs must uphold the amendments made by the House of Lords or introduce equivalent amendments.”

The FUW has supported and lobbied for such an amendment since the Bill was published early on this year, and has given oral and written evidence to Parliament supporting this view since the Bill's publication.

FUW hosts virtual All Wales Mental Health Conference

Poor mental health and suicide in rural and farming communities is sadly an increasing problem and one that the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has made a commitment to tackle. 

Approaching the fourth year of awareness raising and doing everything it takes to help break the stigma, the Union is hosting a virtual All Wales Mental Health Conference on Friday 9 October 2020 via Zoom, ahead of World Mental Health Day.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “The FUW understands that mental health problems can affect a person’s ability to process information and solve problems, deplete their energy and motivation, and increase impulsive behaviour. Whilst the symptoms are being treated, the root causes of these issues are not so frequently addressed.

“This conference will therefore go beyond the usual points of discussions and explore the subject further. It is an open event and anyone with an interest in mental health is welcome to join us virtually on the day.”

Increase in tractor navigation system thefts prompts warning

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is urging farmers to be vigilant following reports by South Wales Police that there has been an increase throughout the UK of the theft of high value Tractor Navigation Systems.  

It is believed that farms are being targeted and the devices are being exported and sold via various auction platforms worldwide. Fully licenced, these systems can cost upwards of £20,000, all carry unique serial numbers which can be checked with manufacturers.

FUW Glamorgan County executive officer Rachel Saunders said: “We urge members across the county and indeed Wales to be extra vigilant. If you are using these systems on your farm,  take some crime prevention action by photographing all items relevant to the system including a close up of the serial numbers and mark them up with your surname,  farm name, post code etc.  

“Any removable parts should be removed from agricultural machinery and locked away safely each night and not left on the tractors. The advice is for such items to be stored in a safe place within the main property.”

FUW stresses importance of EU trade deal and maintaining food standards with Trade Minister

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has highlighted the importance of a trade deal with the EU at a meeting with Minister for Trade Ranil Jayawardena MP and Montgomeryshire MP Craig Williams.

The round-table discussion, which included representatives from the FUW and NFU Cymru officials, at Pickstock Farm in Llanfechain was arranged by Craig Williams MP. 

Speaking after the event, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “We had a good meeting with the Minister and a lively debate around the dangers of allowing cheap substandard food imports after the Brexit withdrawal period.”

Mr Roberts highlighted that food in other non-EU countries was produced to lower animal health and welfare, environmental and social standards than those legally required in Wales and the UK.

Land disputes and how best to avoid them in the spotlight at upcoming FUW virtual seminar

The Farmers’ Union of Wales and RDP Law are joining forces to discuss the issue of land disputes and are hosting a special members webinar to address this complex, costly and contentious area of litigation. 

The event, which is free for FUW members, will take place on Wednesday 16 September at 7pm via Zoom and aims to shed light on the land registry process, boundary disputes, the importance of an accurate plan, rights of way and experts will share their top tips for avoiding litigation.  

Keynote speaker on the night is Rhys Evans, senior associate within RDP’s litigation department, heading up all property litigation and contentious probate matters. Clare O Sullivan, senior associate solicitor within RDP’s Litigation department, who advises clients on a range of commercial and professional negligence disputes with a specialism in financial services litigation and regulatory disputes, will be available to answer questions. 

MPs must block changes that would break international law says FUW

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) says Members of Parliament must ensure the UK Government is prevented from introducing proposed changes to law which would breach the EU withdrawal agreement and break international law.

The demand came following Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis’s confirmirmation that a UK internal market bill the UK Government plans to introduce to Parliament would break international law by overriding the section of the EU Withdrawal Agreement relating to Northern Ireland.

Responding to a question in the house of commons on September 8, Mr Lewis admitted to MPs that the change to the international treaty signed just seven months ago would “...break international law in a specific and limited way.”

FUW Deputy President Ian Rickman said: “To propose legislation which would breach an international treaty signed just months ago puts us in the same category as countries that are generally considered to be backwards and untrustworthy, and to do this at a time when we are negotiating trade deals with a long list of countries beggars belief.”

‘Stand side by side with those suffering from poor mental health to prevent suicides’ - FUW urges rural communities

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is reminding rural communities to stand side by side with those suffering from poor health, ahead of World Suicide Prevention day (Thursday 10 September). 

Close to 800,000 people globally die due to suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds. Indeed, there are indications that for each adult who died by suicide there may have been more than 20 others attempting to take their own life.

Speaking from his farm in North Wales, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “These are difficult times we live in. Many farmers and those living in rural communities often find themselves working alone for most of the day or feel isolated. There are so many uncertainties, stresses, and worries, putting pressure on us that might leave us feeling that we can no longer cope.”

Mr Roberts added that even though those not feeling so good are encouraged to speak up and seek help, sometimes they feel they can’t and it is important therefore to come together as a community, family, and friends. 

Glamorgan farmers left in the dark over local mart

Farmers in Glamorgan still don’t know what the future holds for their local livestock mart, with fears growing that livestock trading in Cowbridge will never resume.

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has long campaigned for the future of the mart, including calling for a stay of execution on the closure of the mart, which was granted a charter back in 1254 and has been central to town life ever since. 

“We are very concerned that with the closure of the market, which is already being disassembled,  market trading in Cowbridge will never resume again. That is something which will cost our local farmers, already under pressure because of uncertainty over red meat sales post Brexit. We are urging the Council to provide urgent clarity,” said FUW county executive officer Rachel Saunders.

The site provided an opportunity to sell stock directly to buyers, but with its closure on 1 September 2020 the closest alternative is at Raglan, Carmarthen or Brecon meaning significant extra costs for farmers.

Welsh lamb is a family affair that must be protected, FUW says

‘PGI Welsh Lamb is a family affair that must be protected’ is the Farmers’ Union of Wales’ key message ahead of Love Lamb Week (1-7 September). Love Lamb Week was set up in 2015 by the late Rachel Lumley, a passionate Cumbrian sheep farmer who campaigned for lamb to get the attention it deserves.

Speaking from his North Wales farm, Union President Glyn Roberts said: “ Our Welsh lamb is a family affair from start to finish. From the Welsh family farms who produce it,  to our consumers who enjoy coming together round the table to eat. But we must protect our family farms if we want to continue enjoying this wonderful sustainable, nutritious, food.”

With trade negotiations and Brexit on-going, as well as new farming policy and schemes in the making that could have potentially negative consequences for the sector, Mr Roberts stressed that it was in all our interests to safeguard the family farms of Wales.

Flooding of farmland in Meirionnydd could have been avoided, says FUW

Flooding of agricultural land in the county of Meirionnydd could have been avoided, if essential work had been carried out by the responsible authorities, the local branch of the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has stressed.

To showcase the damage to land following recent exceptional flooding, and to explain the work required to fix the problem, the Meirionnydd Branch of the FUW held a series of site meetings with local farmers who have land within the Llanfrothen Internal Drainage District (IDD) near Porthmadog.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) staff also attended the meeting and were shown how the water had flown over the flood bank of the Afon Croesor, which resulted in flooding of excellent agricultural land which is part of the Llanfrothen IDD. 

FUW Meirionnydd County Executive Officer Huw Jones said: “The Afon Croesor has the status of ‘main river’ and is the responsibility of NRW. The NRW officers were shown trees and overhanging branches which impede the flow of the river, and where maintenance work is urgently required. Floodbanks in urgent need of repairs were also shown, with a request that a detailed inspection is carried out as soon as possible, with a view to making repairs as soon as possible.”

FUW highlights need to abide by coronavirus rules in marts - or risk lives and market closures

The Farmers' Union of Wales is warning the agriculture industry to abide by coronavirus rules in livestock markets - or risk outbreaks in the farming community and market closures.

FUW Livestock, Wool and Marts Committee Chairman Morgan Jones-Parry said: "Markets play a key role in our supply chains. They are an essential outlet for our finished and store animals, and also play a central role in terms of buying and selling breeding animals."

Mr Jones-Parry said that while the overwhelming majority attending markets were abiding by coronavirus rules, a minority were slipping into old habits in terms of contact with others.

"When you've been attending markets for decades, it's easy to slip into old habits and forget we are still in the grips of a dangerous pandemic - especially in many of our rural communities which have been relatively untouched by the pandemic. We need to keep it that way, and shouldn't be lulled into a false sense of security - and we mustn't forget that many farming families have lost loved ones to the virus," said Mr Jones-Parry.

Welsh Government's Clean Air Plan must not betray farmers

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has responded with concern to the recently launched Welsh Government Clean Air Plan, stating that it must not betray farmers.

The plan, launched last week, aims to improve air quality and reduce the impacts of air pollution on human health, biodiversity, the natural environment and the economy by working jointly across sectors to put in place evidenced based policy, legislation, regulations and investment to reduce air pollution in line with international air quality standards.

Furthermore, the Welsh Government stated it will introduce a new law to tackle agricultural pollution by in effect introducing EU Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) legislation for the whole of Wales, as well as a National Minimum Standards based on the verifiable standards in Cross Compliance.

Responding to the announcement, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “As farmers we take the state of our environment very seriously. It affects everything we do and it is in our interest to work together with Governments and others to achieve the best possible standards. Whilst this plan is focussed in the main on urban areas, where the worst pollution by far exists, the elements relating to our rural areas would in fact undermine the good work that is already being done by our farmers while also devastating businesses. 

FUW responds to UK Internal Market White Paper highlighting devolution must be respected and unfair competition recognised

In response to a UK Government white paper on internal markets, the Farmers’ Union of Wales has stressed the importance of protecting Welsh farmers against unfair competition from other parts of the UK and countries across the globe, and that Welsh devolution must be respected.

In his introduction to the UK Internal Market White Paper, Alok Sharma MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, highlights how increasing differences between rules and standards applied by different Governments in the UK’s four nations after Brexit could cause market distortion, discrimination and unfair competition for businesses in a way not seen for hundreds of years.

The White Paper therefore proposes measures to prevent such impacts based on the principles of ‘non-discrimination’ and ‘mutual recognition’

FUW Head of Policy, Dr Nick Fenwick said: “We are glad the UK Government has woken up to the need to take this issue seriously as it has previously been kicked into the long grass because it is so politically contentious.”