On the agenda - mental health, rewilding, conservation and farming policy challenges
The Farmers’ Union of Wales is looking forward to exploring and discussing the most important issues facing the farming industry in Wales, such as mental health in rural communities, rewilding and conservation, and future farming policies, at the Royal Welsh Show 2019 (Monday 22 - Thursday 25 July).
Those coming to the 100th Royal Welsh Agricultural Show can look forward to a series of seminars and discussion groups, which are all hosted at the FUW pavillion and sponsored FUW Insurance Services.
The week will kick-start with a seminar on mental health with a specific focus on how bovine TB is impacting farmers across Wales.
Entitled ‘What impacts do TB breakdowns have on mental health?’, the Union looks forward to welcoming Ceredigion MP Ben Lake, Gareth Davies from farming charity Tir Dewi, Emma Picton-Jones from rural charity the DPJ Foundation, Charles Smith from farming charity Farm Community Network and Linda Jones from the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institute to the discussion panel.
The seminar starts at 11am on Monday (July 22) and is chaired by FUW Senior Policy Officer Dr Hazel Wright.
Looking forward to the seminar, Dr Wright said: “The FUW has recently called on the Welsh Government to establish a Wales Bovine TB Economics Task and Finish Group to provide robust, Welsh specific information on the financial impact of a TB breakdown and the subsequent mental health impacts on farmers.
“In this seminar we aim to discuss the relationship between mental health issues and the emotional and economic pressures put on farmers following a TB outbreak and whether our industry is receiving enough support.”
On Tuesday (July 23) at 11am, the focus will turn to rewilding and conversation.
Hosting a special seminar, chaired by BBC Radio 4 ‘Farming Today’ reporter Mariclare Carey-Jones, entitled “Rewilding and conservation: poles apart or two sides of the same coin?”, the Union looks forward to welcoming Gareth Davies of Coed Cymru, Ponterwyd farmer Dafydd Morris-Jones and Bangor University Human Geography lecturer Dr Sophie Wynne-Jones to the panel of speakers.
Read more: FUW looks forward to 100th Royal Welsh Agricultural Show
The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) is planning to hold meetings for members and other interested parties across Wales during the summer and into the autumn to discuss the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Farming and our Land consultation.
The consultation, launched by Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths on Tuesday 9 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.
Responding to the launch of the consultation, 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.
Read more: FUW to consult extensively with members on Welsh Government Sustainable Farming Scheme plans
Farmers in Flintshire have become victims of a professional gang of quad bike thieves, with more than £15,000 of ATVs stolen in one night.
FUW member John Wrench, a beef and arable farmer, of Beeches Farm, Hawarden, discovered the theft of his 2011 Yamaha Grizzly 350, worth £2500, at the same time as three other bikes were taken when six farms in the same area were robbed.
“The worst thing is that the thieves broke through a security door and roller shutter to get into the shed the bike was kept in, there’s no way we could have prevented the theft,” said John.”It was definitely a professional job.
“It seems they walked through the fields, cutting padlock and chains on six gates and used any tools that they could find to break in,” said John. “The damage was even more annoying than losing the bike, so much so that we shall not be replacing it. We’re going to use an old small 4x4 instead,” he said.
Meanwhile at the Llanwrst Show, another FUW member, Andy Hughes, was showing a new anti-theft device he has developed to reduce the risk of robbery. The QUADCLAW is hand fabricated in Andy’s workshop at Brynford, Holywell. “The idea is to reduce the chance of losing your expensive bike from chance thieves,” he said. “There’s been a lot of interest in the claw, the increase in ATVs being stolen is worrying for everyone.”
Read more: Bike thefts - weekend raiders break into sheds and steal 4 quads in a night
Rheinallt Hughes, President of Denbighshire Farmers’ Union of Wales and the chairman of the union’s Hill Farming and Marginal Land Committee is a cut above the rest.
Rheinallt, of Llanarmon DC, Llangollen, has just won a place at the Welsh Open Blade Shearing Circuit and is representing Wales for the first time at a World Championships - in France on Saturday.
He and fellow FUW member Elfed Jackson of Bethesda will be competing in the open blade championships on Saturday 6 July at La Dorate, near Limoges. It’s the first time in the competition for Rheinallt and the 10th for Elfed.
“We came out here last week to acclimatise to the conditions, which is just as well. It has been 40 degrees over here,” said Rheinallt.
FUW President Glyn Roberts wished him well: “Rheinallt puts his all into his work with the union and I know that he will do us proud this weekend.”
Rheinallt, together with his family, farms approximately 980 acres at Tu Hwnt i’r Afon, Llanarmon DC, Croesoswallt, of which 240 acres are owned and 720 acres rented. 400 acres are in SSSI (moorland) and they are in Glastir and Glastir Advanced.
The family have a flock of 300 Welsh Mule Ewes and also have a flock of 1300 Welsh Mountain Ewes. The farm is also home to a herd of 20 suckler cows He and his wife Liz, who is also out in France with the team, also run a Holiday Cottage Business.
Abi Kay, who has been Farmers Guardian chief reporter since September 2016, was honoured for her exceptional work by the Farmers’ Union of Wales with the Bob Davies Memorial award.
The award is offered to a media personality who has raised the public profile of Welsh farming every year.
A former member of the NFU politics team in London, and a long-term Parliamentary aide in Westminster before that, she has spearheaded FG's coverage of politics and regulatory affairs in Wales and across the UK during her time with the publication. She also founded FG's hugely popular Brexit hub online.
Presenting her with the award, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “Abi has been a tremendous force in bringing Welsh agriculture and the politics associated with it to the forefront of people’s minds - in print and online.
“Her way of holding politicians to account, asking the hard-hitting questions and sympathetically reporting the lives of those who keep the wheels of our Welsh rural economy running is a credit not just to the Farmers Guardian, but to journalism in general.
Read more: The Welsh Farmer’s Friend - Abi honoured by FUW
The Ceredigion branch of the Farmers’ Union of Wales is putting mental health and farming matters firmly on the agenda at the up-coming Annual General meeting.
The event, which is held on Tuesday 9 July at 7.30pm at the Moody Cow, Llwyncelyn, will hear from DPJ Foundation founder Emma Picton-Jones and give members the opportunity to discuss the most critical farming issues in an informal setting.
Read more: FUW Ceredigion AGM puts Mental Health and Farming Matters on the agenda