NFU Cymru and the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) have set up their first ever joint campaign to persuade the Welsh Government to keep some form of direct payment after Brexit.
The two unions put on an unprecedented show of unity at the campaign launch at the Pierhead Building in Cardiff yesterday, where presidents John Davies and Glyn Roberts gave a joint speech to Assembly Members (AMs) in Welsh and English.
NFU Cymru and the FUW have previously issued joint papers, but this is the first time they have ever held a joint event.
Mr Roberts said: “John and I are of course presidents representing different organisations, but we are both part of one farming community – a single farming family which extends across our great country.”
Mr Davies went on to explain that the proposals in the Welsh Government’s Brexit consultation ‘raise the same concerns, whether you are an NFU Cymru or FUW member’.
Those concerns are centred on the need to retain some kind of direct payment after Brexit - a nod to the first of five principles the unions are calling for the Welsh Government to base future policy on: stability.
The other four principles are for family farms to be protected, rural communities to be supported, sustainable agriculture to be encouraged and environmental outcomes to be rewarded.
The unions’ show of unity came shortly after a Farmers Guardian interview revealed Rural Affairs Secretary Lesley Griffiths would still axe direct payments, even if a majority of respondents to the consultation requested they were kept.
Asked whether the two presidents had felt the need to join forces because the Welsh Government was not listening to them, Mr Davies likened the consultation process to a flight which was encountering some turbulence, and said there may be a need to fly round the airport again before the plane could be landed safely.
Later that day, Ms Griffiths was challenged in the Senedd on her comments in FG by Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Rural Affairs Secretary Llyr Gruffydd, but she doubled-down on her position, saying: “Welsh Government has always been clear the basic payment scheme is ending.”