Thousands of support businesses and service suppliers are fast approaching desperation point as they suffer the backlash of cash strapped farmers not able to settle their bills.
For many the next few weeks could mean whether or not their businesses go to the wall or not. Already some have been forced to cut their workforces and look for income sources away from farming altogether.
Only too aware of the rural business depression, West Wales beef and sheep farmer, Huw Davies, took it upon himself yesterday (Thursday, February 4) to highlight the accelerating crisis.
He invited representatives from more than 60 independent local businesses, from whom he either purchases goods or services, to his Ceredigion beef and sheep farm in a bid to illustrate just how the money farmers receive from the single farm payment cascades throughout the wider rural communities.
They included the most obvious such as the local vet, feed merchants, machinery dealers, contractors used for fencing, silage making and hedge cutting, through to the less obvious such as a solicitor, accountant, electrician, builders, sheep shearers, the farming unions and even a hairdresser.
There, too, were Elin Jones and Simon Thomas, his local Plaid Cymru Welsh Assembly Members, and Andrew R.T. Davies, leader of the Welsh Conservatives.
Welcoming them to the family’s 323 ha (800 acres) Trefaes Fawr Farm, at Beulah, near Newcastle Emlyn, Mr Davies said the purpose was to raise awareness of the “deplorable situation” in rural communities across the country.
“Over the next five years we face annual decreases in the single farm payment, as well as unfair prices for our produce across all the farming sectors – alongside continually rising production costs.
“In addition to such a depressing situation many farmers did not receive their annual single farm payment in December and many have still not received it,” added Mr Davies, who is NFU Cymru’s Ceredigion county chairman.
“The lack of funding means that farmers are not in a financial position to support local businesses as much as they wished or even settle their outstanding debts on time.
“The governments in Cardiff and London need to recognise that the payments we receive will be shared throughout the local communities.
“The 60 or so businesses that provide essential services for my farm represent only a very small part of Wales – but it is a situation happening throughout the country.”
NFU Cymru president, Stephen James, said farms and farmers were the axis around which rural communities turned.
“Much of what happens in our rural areas only happens thanks to the goodwill, involvement and support of the farming community.
“Agriculture is one of the key drivers of the rural economy with most of the spending done within a short distance of the farm -- but I fear that without a robust farming industry the whole future of our rural communities could be under threat.”