As September kicks off with the ever more popular ‘Love Lamb Week’ , the Farmers’ Union of Wales is urging the UK Government to ensure that the sheep industry doesn’t end up being the sacrificial lamb because of failed negotiations with the European Union.
FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “We have said it many times before - our lamb is of the finest quality and those who have tasted it will, I am sure, agree that it stands out as a premium product.
“However, producing a premium product is of no use if we have no market to sell it to and tariffs make it uneconomical to pursue such food production.
“Three years on from the EU referendum and one of the most complex issues we still face in light of our exit are the trade negotiations.
“We know that if we don’t have an export market after 31 October, then we will have too much lamb for our own market - even if all imports were banned.”
Farmers from Meirionnydd have told local politicians of their fears for the future of the industry when they met at the local county show in Harlech (Wednesday, 28 August).
Welcoming Dafydd Elis Thomas AM, Llyr Huws Gruffydd AM and Liz Saville Roberts MP to the marquee at the busy event, Union official and members discussed on farm policy and funding post Brexit, as well as many other farming matters.
FUW Meirionnydd County Chairman Sion Ifans said: “We discussed many #FarmingMatters at the stand with our members and elected politicians and our key messages to decision makers were clear.
“A no-deal Brexit will spell disaster for the farming industry in Wales and we stressed that point again here at the county show. No responsible UK Government would allow the UK to leave the EU without a deal and as we have a Prime Minister who is turbo charging preparations for a no-deal Brexit, there remains a lot of work to be done.
The Meirionnydd branch of the Farmers’ Union of Wales enjoyed a busy day at the County Show (Wednesday, 28 August), which was held at Harlech, with Union officials, staff, and FUW Insurance Services Ltd. on hand to answer any questions members had.
The stand was a hive of activity with representatives from RABI, FWAG Cymru, Farming Connect, Gamlins Solicitors LLP and North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones, together with Rob Taylor and members of the Rural Crime Team on hand to offer advice and guidance on a plethora of current issues affecting the farming community.
FUW Meirionnydd County Chairman Sion Ifans said: “We enjoyed a busy county show at Harlech and I must thank the staff and everyone who joined us for making it such a roaring success once again. A special thank you goes to our members and friends of the FUW in the Dinas Mawddwy, Dolgellau and Trawsfynydd areas for taking responsibility for the refreshments on the stand.”
On the day, the FUW further drew attention to the work of the Wales Farm Safety Partnership (WFSP), welcoming recently appointed ‘ambassadors’ Alun Edwards, prominent local FUW member and well known TV presenter and Betws Y Coed farmer Beca Glyn, who gave a talk on her personal experience following a quad bike accident in February last year.
The announcement by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones at Meirionnydd county show (Wednesday, 28 August), that three extra police constables will be added to the North Wales Rural Crime Team has been hailed as excellent news by the Farmers’ Union of Wales.
The three new crime fighters will join the team of four PCs and three Police Community Support Officers headed by team manager Rob Taylor, bringing its numbers up to 11 officers.
Responding to the announcement, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “Every year rural crime costs millions of pounds and causes untold anxiety to farmers and rural businesses. North Wales police have been leading the way in making sure that rural crime is less attractive for those up to no good.
“The fact that their rural crime team will now double in size, due to increased funding, is excellent news. Other police forces across Wales should take note of their approach in supporting the rural community and we can only commend the Police and Crime Commissioner for his efforts and determination to make North Wales a safer place for us all.”
FUW Meirionnydd County Chairman Sion Ifans added: “We have a very good working relationship with North Wales Police force and can count ourselves lucky that because of their efforts, we have seen a reduction in rural crime here compared to other parts of the country.
Monmouthshire farming couple, Guy and Cath Parry of Pentre Farm, Llansoy, Usk, have discussed the most critical #farmingmatters including Brexit, environmental issues, future farm policy and the rural economy, with Mohammad Asghar, Conservative Regional AM for S.E Wales.
During a farm visit, the family showed Mr Asghar around the typical Monmouthshire grass farm on which the main enterprise is the fattening of store cattle and lambs.
Guy and Cath hope that their children might take over the farm business one day, but Guy said: “We are very concerned about the future of our own farm and also the future of the industry in general. With everything that’s going on such as, substantial changes to farm policy, uncertainty over direct support and export markets, new burdensome and draconian environmental regulations, it doesn’t bode well.
“It certainly doesn’t make the industry look very attractive as a career option for our children and if the next generation don’t take farming and food production up - who will?”
With regard to the environment Guy emphasised that farmers already work hand in hand with nature, saying:“Farmers do so much for the wider rural economy, the environment, food security and tourism, yet the support and recognition we get for the work is as low as it can get. We have undertaken significant environmental work, which has been taken for granted by Government.
“It is very important that the public and politicians understand the implications if farming gets a bad deal after we leave the EU and what is likely to happen to food security, our rural economy and way of life here in Wales.”
When Lucy Lewis, a primary school teacher from Pembrokeshire, decided to convert an old potato chitting greenhouse into a stable block for 7 horses in 2014, it looked like a bumpy ride ahead.
The idea first came when she was out riding with a friend on a cold winters morning and after mulling the idea over, the decision was made to give up teaching in the classroom and take it outside.
Lucy said: “Dad always said to me don’t make horses your work and so I became a primary school teacher. And I really enjoyed spending time with the children in the classroom but at the same time I was looking after the horses and helping out on the farm. It was getting a bit much and I knew something had to give.
“I still wanted to teach and spend time with the children. So by having children’s riding ponies at the yard I was able to create a flexible business around our family farm life, whilst meeting the needs of the community.
“We have made some great friends and are so delighted with the way our riders have embraced life at the stables; treating the ponies with great affection and understanding how the yard runs.”
But it wasn’t an easy start and the initial idea for a livery at St Brides Bay Stables, Pearson Farm, St Brides, Haverfordwest, had to go through a rethink.