Productive discussions with deputy minister at FUW president’s farm

Farmers’ Union of Wales officials and staff held a productive meeting with deputy minister for agriculture and fisheries Rebecca Evans on union president Emyr Jones’s farm near Bala yesterday (August 28).

Mr Jones, who farms beef and sheep at Rhiwaedog farm with his two sons, said: “It was pleasure to host this meeting with the deputy minister to show her first hand a working family farm and to have the opportunity to discuss a range of issues in depth, including the recently announced changes to the definition of moorland under the next round of pillar one of the common agricultural policy, the opportunities we have to shape the programmes under the new rural development programme and the importance of succession and new entrants in ensuring the future of family farms in Wales.”

The deputy minister was given a tour of the farm which extends to 360 acres, with a further 200 acres of rented land, and carries a herd of 60 Pedigree Welsh Black Suckler Cows and 1200 breeding sheep.

Rhiwaedog has won several awards over the years, including awards by the Grassland Society, the Royal Welsh Show Farm Buildings Facilities Awards, and the Snowdonia National Park Society Farming and Landscape Award.

The main achievement was in 2008 when the farm won the British Grassland Societies National Grassland and Management competition in Wales, and thereafter won the competition throughout the UK.

“We have held a number of productive meetings with the deputy minister over the summer and are pleased that Welsh government has listened carefully to our concerns and amended the classification of moorland to reflect the botanical composition of the sward and we hope that this positive co-working will continue during the development of the next rural development plan.

“The industry is facing an unprecedented level of change and upheaval over the next few years as the new payment regime is rolled out. Many farms will have to find new ways to make up the shortfall in income resulting from the changes and we underlined to the deputy minister the importance of a fair market return for our products and the need for farmers to be able to maximise their returns from the rural development programme.

“This is a positive example of how we as an industry can work together with government reaching practical solutions which are fair to agriculture and our farmers,” added Mr Jones.

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