The Farmers’ Union of Wales says the draft withdrawal deal and political declaration agreed between the EU and the UK does nothing to allay concerns present in Theresa May’s original deal, given it contains ‘no significant changes or improvements for Wales’ and will place the UK outside the Single Market.
FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “From a Welsh perspective the deal is to all intents and purposes unchanged from when it was proposed by Theresa May.
“The fact that it seeks to take us well and truly out of the Single Market and Customs Union in order to pave the way for deals with non-EU countries, coupled with the UK Government’s alarming appetite for a deal with the USA, raises major alarm bells for Welsh farming and those concerned with UK food standards.”
Mr Roberts said it would clearly be a US priority in trade negotiations to secure access to the UK market for agricultural products - which are often produced in ways and to standards that fall well short of what is currently legal in Wales and the rest of the EU.
“The impact would be extremely damaging for Welsh farmers and UK food standards, and there is a real danger that the UK would be ‘deal-takers’ during the sort of negotiations this withdrawal deal and political declaration is seeking to allow.
Pembrokeshire dairy farmer Dai Miles has been elected as the new Farmers’ Union of Wales Vice President at the FUW’s Grand Council meeting in Aberystwyth (Wednesday, 16 October).
Dai has been the FUW’s milk and dairy produce committee chairman since 2017 and is also one of the 4 founding directors of Calon Wen, an organic milk co-operative that not only sells on its member’s milk to processors but has created its own brand of dairy products which are available through all major retailers in Wales and UK wide via distributors.
A self-confessed born Cardi, Dai lived in Felin Fach near Lampeter as a child and went to Ysgol Gyfun Aberaeron. He is a fluent Welsh speaker and attended the Welsh Agricultural College in Aberystwyth where he received a National Diploma in Agriculture and completed a sandwich year at Godor Nantgaredig.
After college Dai spent 5 years as a Herdsman of 160 cows at Waun Fawr Glynarthen Llandysul, then a further 5 years at IGER Trawscoed working as a relief herdsman between the two dairy herds -Lodge Farm and the organic herd at Ty Gwyn.
In 1997, in partnership with his wife Sharron, the couple took on the tenancy of Barnsley Farm, a 143 acres farm in West Wales. At the time it was a stock/arable unit which they converted into an organic dairy unit starting with 33 cows and leased milk quota.
In 2001 they took on a further 90 acres of pasture land and then in 2005 the neighbouring farm within the same estate. At the moment the couple have 120 cows and 65 youngstock. Cropping is mainly grass, however arable silage, forage rape and fodder beet are part of the rotation farming approx. 300 plus acres.
In 2018 they purchased the neighbouring farm from the estate and installed a modern robotic milking system on the holding.
Speaking about his appointment Dai said: “One reason why I am proud to be a member of the FUW is that all members have a voice whether they farm large businesses or smaller farms.
Carmarthenshire sheep farmer and former Farmers’ Union of Wales Vice President Ian Rickman, has been elected as the FUW’s new Deputy President at a Grand Council meeting in Aberystwyth (Wednesday, 16 October).
He has been an active union member for more than 20 years and was Carmarthenshire county chairman from 2010 - 2012. He has also held the post of chairman of the hill farming and marginal land committee, a position he has held for four years. In 2017, Ian was elected as the FUW’s Vice President.
Over the past 2 years, he has worked tirelessly to represent the Union and its members at a variety of Welsh Government meetings, at farm visits with MP’s and AM’s highlighting why #FarmingMatters and represented the Union in a host of media interviews.
Ian is married to Helen and they have three sons. The family lives at Gurnos, an upland sheep farm near Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire. The farm extends to 220 acres with Common Grazing Rights on the Black Mountain, and Ian is a member of the Management Committee of the Black Mountain West Graziers Association.
Outside of farming, he was Chairman of Governors of Ysgol Gynradd Ffairfach and also enjoys rugby. He is a keen follower of the Scarlets and is an active Welsh learner.
Appointing Ian to his new role, Union President Glyn Roberts said: “Ian has already done so much for our industry, representing the views of our grassroots membership, holding Government to account and working tirelessly to spread the #FarmingMatters message.
Prominent Pembrokeshire beef and sheep farmer Brian Thomas, who has served the Farmers’ Union of Wales for over two decades, has stood down as the Union’s Deputy President.
Brian is a past county chairman of the FUW in Pembrokeshire and has previously sat on the FUW’s central tenant’s committee. He was elected South Wales member of the central finance and organisation committee in 2011, Vice President of the FUW in 2013 and Deputy President in 2015.
During the 1996 BSE outbreak, Mr Thomas led the campaign in South West Wales opposing the importation of inferior beef into Wales. In 1997 he led a group of farmers to Tesco’s stand at the Royal Welsh Show to address them about the unfair way in which they were treating the industry and he has been a leading figure in the fight against bovine TB.
Thanking Mr Thomas for his long service at the Union’s Grand Council meeting in Aberystwyth on Wednesday, 16 October, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “Brian has been a rock-solid friend and working partner for over 20 years. He is always willing to help, support and give advice. It is fair to say that Brian is someone I could and do rely on.
“From the very start, Brian has gone above and beyond in serving not just this Union but the industry as a whole. He was never afraid to ruffle a few feathers if it meant farmers got a better deal, be that through leading protests or campaigning at Government level.
The Farmers’ Union of Wales is seeking urgent clarity on the reasons behind the decision by Tomlinson’s Dairies to close its doors and refuse milk.
This shock decision came in with almost immediate effect and has left many dairy producers in Wales scrambling to find another processor for their milk.
FUW Vice President Eifion Huws said: “We are extremely concerned for our members who are affected and who have contacted us. We had no prior warning and are extremely disappointed that farmers are left in a predicament where they have no one to collect their milk.
“If the speculation is true, and we have lost yet another major processor in Wales, this will come as a severe blow to farmers, workers and the industry as a whole at a time when significant efforts are being made to bolster and build on our unique Welsh brand.”
The end of beef processing at Llanidloes has been described as another blow for the industry by the Farmers’ Union of Wales.
Speaking from his North Wales farm, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “We completely understand the economic reasons for stopping the beef processing by Randall Parker Foods at the Llanidloes site. However, it is bad news for our farmers.