Usk Show to put focus on #farmingmatters

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is looking forward to a busy, #farmingmatters focused Usk show, on Saturday 14 September, which is being held at the 100 acre Usk Showground near the village of Gwernesney just outside Usk.

The event, which has been held on the second Saturday in September since 1844, celebrates the very best of Monmouthshire farming and rural life.

FUW Gwent County Executive Officer Glyn Davies said: “We are really looking forward to Usk show - it is a time to show the quality of produce, a time to meet and catch up with old friends and a time to demonstrate the value of agriculture to a wider audience.

“I have no doubt that we will see many people with little or no background in agriculture who are increasingly interested in food, food production, quality produce and buying locally here at the show. 

“We extend a warm welcome to them and our members to join us for a cup of tea and plenty of #farmingmatters chats. 

Read more: Usk Show to put focus on #farmingmatters

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Withdrawing Article 50 must be an option in Brexit calamity

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has renewed calls for Article 50 to be revoked to allow the UK to ‘take back control’ and deliver a smooth Brexit that does not threaten millions of livelihoods.

Following meetings with MPs and Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns in London (Tuesday, 3 September), FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “We had very constructive discussions about the contingency planning required to support farmers and farming communities in the event of the UK crashing out of the EU next month. 

“But we also stressed that other options, must be considered if we are to safeguard the future of our family farms and the rural economy in Wales.

“Those who are enthusiastic about Brexit should also be realistic about the dangers of getting it wrong, and the need for an orderly withdrawal over a realistic timescale.

“The damage being done by the current strategy to businesses, our economy, our international reputation and our political parties is clear for everyone to see.”

Mr Roberts said that revoking Article 50 - a policy first agreed at an emergency meeting of the Union’s presidential team and committee chairs in mid January - must be considered as it is the only option which would take back control over the process and return us to a situation where a smooth and orderly Brexit was possible.

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FUW hosts consultation events on Welsh Government Sustainable Farming Scheme plans

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) is holding meetings for members and other interested parties across Wales to discuss the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Farming and our Land consultation.

The consultation, launched by Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths in July, outlines proposals for future farm and rural support which have been revised in light of the comments received in response to the 2018 Brexit and our Land consultation.

It proposes that future support should be designed around the principle of sustainability in a way which brings together the ‘wide-ranging and significant economic, environmental and social contribution or farmers’, through a single Sustainable Farming Scheme based on the principles of providing a meaningful and stable income stream; rewarding outcomes in a fair way; paying for both new and existing sustainable practices; and flexibility allowing it apply to every type of farm.

Farmers’ Union of Wales President Glyn Roberts said: “We welcome the fact that the consultation document acknowledges many of the concerns raised by respondents to last years Brexit and our Land consultation, and focuses on farmers and food producers.

“Concerns highlighted by the FUW last year about the dangers of setting a fixed timetable and ploughing ahead with proposals at a time of complete uncertainty over Brexit and its impacts, and undertaking detailed modelling and economic assessments of proposals before coming to any decision, also appear to have been taken on board.”

Mr Roberts said that this acknowledgement and the consultative tone of the document would help to discuss the proposals with the industry and urges farmers to join the FUW at it’s consultation meetings.

Read more: FUW hosts consultation events on Welsh Government Sustainable Farming Scheme plans

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Be mindful of grass burning regs to avoid fines - FUW reminds farmers

Farmers are being reminded to follow the Heather and Grass Burning Code to avoid damage to the environment, hefty fines and cross compliance penalties. 

The burning of heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse and Vaccinium (bilberry) is only allowed between 1 October - 31 March in upland areas (land in the Severely Disadvantaged Area of the Less Favoured Area) and 1 November - 15 March elsewhere.

It is possible to carry out controlled burns at other times but only under a licence that may be obtained in very specific circumstances.

FUW Vice President Ian Rickman said: “It is really important that farmers remember that if they don’t comply with the Burning Regulations, they are breaking the law and may face a fine up to £1,000. They could also be looking at penalties under cross compliance rules.” 

The Heather and Grass Burning Code asks farmers to prepare thoroughly before any burning is undertaken as well as plan and consult well in advance of the burning season. 

Those planning a controlled burn need to contact the local Fire and Rescue Service, consult and co-operate with neighbours, especially woodland owners, to establish or confirm a burning programme for the year and those on common land are advised to consult fellow Commoners and the local Commoners’ Association if there is one. 

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Sheep industry must not be sacrificial lamb FUW warns

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.” 

Read more: Sheep industry must not be sacrificial lamb FUW warns

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Meirionnydd farmers fear for future of industry

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.

Read more: Meirionnydd farmers fear for future of industry

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