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Rachel Lewis-Davies: Back to square one with SFP successor in Wales, and happy 18th birthday to Ceri

All happenings at Yscoedreddfyn this month have been somewhat eclipsed by one event. 

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The decision to quash the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) regulation in Wales as a result of the legal challenge to the moorland line can only be described as a real game changer. Basically, it takes us back to square one in terms of developing the successor scheme to Single Farm Payment.

 

I seem to recall some of the ‘national’ debate last time round saw the move to area based payments styled as ‘freedom to farm’. Now, in Wales, the focus seems to have shifted towards ‘fairness’ (whatever this means) and, with greening and its associated obligations, it does not seem quite so liberating now.

 

Just like every farm business across Wales we have no idea what this means. This is a cause of much frustration for Bobby as we try to understand the impact for our business. Uncertainty is not a new notion for us – indeed, ever since our ill-fated exit from the Drostre we seem to have been is a state of perpetual flux, business planning and review. As ever, we will just have to plough on regardless.

 

And now to the year’s progress:

  • Acres gained zero (another disappointing year)
  • Acres lost – none, but holding our breath for grazed woodland deductions in new SFP next year – Bobby is sharpening the chainsaw
  • Acres reseeded – 35
  • Acres of roots – 32
  • Lime spread – 80 tonnes
  • Heifers gained - 20 (Welsh Black)
  • Bulls gained - 20 (Friesian) – thankfully the two groups are not acquainted
  • Sheep gained – some, but not enough
  • Sheep lost – please refer to flock records
  • Lambs sold – all, down to 13 specials
  • Hogs to tack – 450
  • Single Farm Payment – not yet, but it needs to come quick
  • Bank overdraft – extended and at the limit again (I do tell him it’s a LIMIT and not a target)
  • New roof - no
  • New windows – none
  • New lawn – sort of

I tell Bobby it is quite simple. Next year we must produce more, sell more and spend less.

 

Christmas for us will be a double celebration with our daughter Ceri celebrating her 18th on Christmas Eve. Pretty keen on farming, feisty, determined verging on awkward – I have no idea where she gets it from.

 

With best wishes to you all for a happy, healthy, productive and prosperous 2015.

 

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