The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed the “Managing the Impact of Brexit on the Rural Development Programme for Wales” report by the Wales Audit Office, which considers whether the Welsh Government is effectively managing the risks and opportunities for the Rural Development Programme posed by Brexit.
In their report two key recommendations are made. Firstly that the current scrutiny arrangements for the management and delivery of the RDP that are in place at the moment, should be improved, and secondly that risk management arrangements for the RDP should be clarified and documented.
The report further outlines the importance in viewing wider economic changes and adopting a flexible approach to adapt the Programme where necessary. It also outlines the need to increase the rates of commitment and spending in order to maximise the amount of EU funding that can be drawn down prior to Brexit.
Furthermore the report argues that Welsh Government should ensure that during the transition to any replacement for rural development funds, the Department’s expertise is retained, either in the replacement programme or in the wider Welsh public service.
Responding to the report, Charlotte Priddy, FUW policy officer, said: “We are pleased to see this report looking at the impact on the RDP in light of Brexit and the FUW agrees with the Auditor General’s comment that the “Welsh Government need to strengthen its oversight and scrutiny of the Programme”.
Farmers’ Union of Wales representatives from Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Brecon highlighted the most pressing #FarmingMatters when they met Mid and West Wales AM Helen Mary Jones.
The meeting was hosted by FUW Ceredigion County President Aled Rees at Treclyn Isaf, Eglwyswrw, giving members and the Mid and West Wales AM the chance to see not just the farm but also to discuss the ongoing issue of bovine TB, Sheep Scab, and broadband issues. Members also voiced their concerns about the future of direct payments and life after Brexit.
Aled, his wife Hedydd, son Owain and Aled’s uncle, David Jenkins, are dairy farmers from Penparc situated in south Ceredigion. They live at Trefere Fawr where they milk a herd of 120 Holstein Friesian cows with a spring calving setup.
In January 2018 they started milking at Treclyn Isaf in Eglwyswrw, where they have set up a 54 point rotary system and are currently milking 280 Holstein Friesian cows under an autumn block calving system.
Along with the new parlour they have built a million gallon slurry lagoon and enough housing for 300 cattle.
The South Wales FUW Academy, comprising the Union’s Gwent, Glamorgan and Brecon and Radnor branches, are putting on a coach trip to the UK’s leading Farm Machinery Equipment and Services Show, which is moving inside to the NEC in Birmingham.
The trip has been arranged for Tuesday 8 January and those joining the event will be leaving from Monmouthshire Livestock Centre at 8am and returning from Birmingham at 5.30pm.
FUW Gwent CEO Glyn Davies said: “We are really excited about this event. It is a unique opportunity to see the very latest in agricultural machinery, equipment and services with more than 800 exhibitors taking part and its free to get in.
"The only cost to members will be the coach, which is £10 per head. I would advise you to book your seat as soon as possible though as it’s looking to be a popular event.” Please contact the county office on 01873 853280 or Chris Lewis on 07792 232758 to book your place.
Farmers in Carmarthenshire will have the opportunity to get up to speed with the new tax rules, which come into force on 1 April 2019. The ‘Making tax digital’ scheme will see millions of businesses and self-employed people having to file multiple tax returns each year.
So in order to help those VAT-registered businesses with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold, the Carmarthen branch of the Farmers’ Union of Wales is hosting a special information evening.
Held at Llanarthney village hall on Thursday 3 January 2019, at 8.00pm, those attending the event will hear all about the scheme from Eirian Humphreys of LHP accountants and have the opportunity to ask any questions they may have.
FUW Carmarthen CEO David Waters said: “This new way of filing your taxes has the potential to be a real headache for our farmers, especially as paper returns will no longer be accepted. I hope that many can join us for the evening and get up to speed on the new way filing their tax returns.”
For more information contact the FUW Carmarthen office on 01267 237974.
The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed the recommendations outlined in the Welsh Government’s Quarantine Unit (QU) review following an announcement made earlier today (Monday 10 December) by the Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths.
QUs were introduced in Wales in September 2017 in an attempt to provide industry with an alternative to the six day standstill rule.
Dr Hazel Wright, FUW Senior Policy Officer, said: “At present, the cost and impractical nature of QU rules represent a major obstacle to uptake and the FUW is therefore pleased that the recommendations made by Welsh Government recognised these issues.”
The Welsh Government QU review identified 9 recommendations for improvement, with 7 of these to be given consideration in the New Year.
These include exploring the possibility of amending the 24 hour reporting rule, allowing greater discretion for QU inspectors when considering compliance with requirements and the possibility of a funding stream to aid livestock keepers in meeting the initial costs of QU certification.