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Welsh farm leaders look ahead to New Year

The presidents of NFU Cymru and the Farmers Union of Wales deliver their thoughts on the year ahead.

NFU Cymru president Stephen James

Mr James called for the Welsh Government to ensure its £1 million Rural Development Programme was easily accessible to farmers and designed to improve the industry’s competitiveness and profitability.

 

"Transformational change can only be achieved if the RDP delivers real and practical support to thousands of Welsh farmers."

 

He also called on the Government move away from its ‘presumption in favour of regulation’, citing the threat of changes to Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil (SSAFO) regulations, oil storage rules and new NVZ designations as evidence ‘of this appetite to over-regulate’.

 

On bTB, Mr James highlighted the 25 per cent increase in cattle slaughtered and 9 per cent increase in new herd incidents in Wales.

 

“TB remains arguably the greatest threat to our cattle herd and no eradication plan is worth the paper it is written on without an acceptance that the disease must be eradicated from wildlife as well as from cattle,” he said.

 

“Politicians can no longer hide behind badger vaccination as their approach to dealing with the wildlife reservoir and they must now clearly set out their plan for effectively dealing with the issue in wildlife."

 

He added: “The market place remains challenging with milk, lamb and cereal prices impacted by a range of global factors that are beyond our control.

 

“NFU Cymru has and will continue to meet retailers, food service providers and public procurers to press for a clear commitment to supporting the industry, while seeking to ensure our products clearly labelled within a fair and transparent supply chain.”


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Farmers Union of Wales president Glyn Roberts

For Mr Roberts, the major challenge in 2016 is likely to be the euro-sterling exchange rate which is the main factor in terms of the fall in livestock values and has a direct impact on CAP payments.

 

He said: “For the dairy sector there seems to be little hope matters will improve significantly without major changes in global demand and trading patters – not least with regard to China and Russia.

 

“We must be realistic about such factors and the degree to which they are outside our control – but it is also imperative that where positive actions are possible, whether by our own governments or key players such as retailers, these are taken."

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