Ancillary rural businesses and communities which hinge on farming in Wales’ uplands face significant threats from a bad trade deal or if farm profitability takes a hit.
NFU Cymru’s Vision for Welsh Upland Farming report, launched this week, highlighted the unique contribution the Welsh upland farming community makes to food security, environment, the economy, rural communities and the Welsh language.
Out of 765 farmers surveyed, 92 per cent stated it was important future Welsh farming policy included measures that ensured farmers can make a reasonable living.
But only 18 per cent felt Welsh Government’s Sustainable Farming Scheme proposals, which will replace the Common Agricultural Policy, were ‘very good’ at specifically addressing the needs of upland farming.
The report also noted 80 per cent of farmers were involved in one or more environmental action on farm in the last 10 years and 30 per cent supported between 21-50 other businesses.
NFU Cymru president John Davies said the results provided another compelling argument that future Welsh agricultural policy should include a stability measure to support farmers by protecting them against the increased volatility that affects businesses, trade and production.
“Such backing would ensure our farmers can continue providing safe, affordable food, as well as boosting the economy, enhancing the environment, caring for our cherished landscapes communities and being champions of Welsh language, culture and rural communities,” Mr Davies said.
He added it was important support goes to the active farmer taking the business risk.
NFU Cymru LFA board chairwoman Kath Whitrow said recent years has seen upland farming policy de-emphasised despite the sector’s extent and significance.
“As our relationship with the EU changes, the economic rationale for upland livestock production is threatened. global environmental challenges, such as climate change and biodiversity decline, are viewed by some as drivers for land use change without any consideration of the wider impacts.
“At this pivotal time for Welsh farming as we transition out of the CAP and into a new ‘made in Wales’ agricultural policy, the NFU Cymru LFA Board wants to ensure that the voice of Welsh upland farming is clearly heard in this debate.”
Mr Davies urged policy makers in Cardiff Bay to carefully consider the report’s key recommendations to ensure Welsh upland farmers can continue to deliver for the whole of Wales.
Biggest threats to Welsh uplands