NFU Cymru’s Next Generation Policy Group discussed the key priorities for a post-Brexit Welsh agricultural policy in a meeting with the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and Rural Affairs recently.
Held at the Senedd, the meeting was an opportunity for the Next Generation Policy Group to discuss a range of issues including; their ideas on a future agricultural policy for Wales, how to support and encourage new entrants into the industry and the role that farmers play in delivering a wide range of goods and services to society in Wales.
The Next Generation Policy Group is made up of young farmers from across Wales who come from a wide range of sectors and farm types. The group has met on a number of occasions prior to their meeting at the Senedd, to discuss and agree their key priorities for a post Brexit agricultural policy for Wales.
Guto Davies, who is a member of the group and an upland beef and sheep tenant farmer from Clwyd said: “As a group we are clear in our vision for a policy that is outcome focussed, delivering on the three key pillars of sustainability – economic, social and environmental; a policy that supports sustainable farming systems across the range of scales that we currently see in operation in Wales.”
Joy Cornock, who is also a member of the group and from a dairy, beef, sheep and arable farm in north Pembrokeshire said: “A post Brexit policy should provide mechanisms that target improvements in productivity on farm and ensures that interventions are made to support the active farmer.”
Cabinet Secretary Lesley Griffiths AM said: “It was good to meet such an energetic and forward thinking group of young people. I look forward to seeing many of them emerging as the senior leaders of the agriculture industry over the coming years. Our discussions were open, honest and constructive around the future direction of agriculture in Wales. As we prepare to leave the European Union, it is more important than ever we work in partnership to identify opportunities to develop a distinctively Welsh agricultural policy, one that works in the very best interests of farm businesses and the wider Welsh economy.
“It was also good to talk about how we might encourage more young, and not so young people too, into farming – new blood and fresh ideas are an essential ingredient in any successful industry.”
To conclude the meeting, Pembrokeshire arable farmer and member of the Next Generation Policy Group, Tom Rees said: “We very much appreciate the Cabinet Secretary giving up her time to meet with us. This meeting gave us the opportunity to present our collective ideas on how an integrated and outcome focussed post-Brexit Welsh agricultural policy can deliver for farmers, rural communities, the environment and the economy of Wales.
“Today, we have been fortunate not just to meet with the Cabinet Secretary but also with Directors and Heads in the Agriculture and Environment departments and with the Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) of Wales. We are all passionate about what we do and want to work to ensure that the industry has a bright future which can help to grow the economy of Wales. As the NFU Cymru Next Generation Policy Group we very much look forward to continued collaboration with the Cabinet Secretary and her officials.”