NFU Cymru on-farm meeting with Joel James MS

Joel James MS with Abi Reader

NFU Cymru Deputy President, Abi Reader, was pleased to welcome Joel James, Conservative Member of the Senedd for South Wales Central, out to her farm near Cardiff recently.

Abi Reader, who is a third-generation farmer, took the opportunity of Joel’s visit to speak to him about some of the challenges facing farmers across Wales.

Bovine TB

Ms Reader, who has first-hand experience of a bovine TB outbreak on-farm, outlined the real difficulties that a TB outbreak can cause on farm, including the loss of production, the inability to move livestock in or out, the rigours of TB testing as well as the emotional and financial stress a TB breakdown creates for a farming family. 

Abi Reader said: “Although farmers are abiding by stringent protocols to keep the disease out, we still have hundreds of farm businesses under bTB restrictions at any one time, and over 10,000 cattle being slaughtered annually for TB control purposes. That’s why we continue to urge Welsh Government to look at the science and to address the disease wherever it is found, otherwise we fear that we will never be able to get on top of it.”

Water quality

The Welsh Government’s water quality regulations were also one of the main topics of discussion with Ms Reader saying: “Farmers are having to incur huge expenditure on farm to comply with the new requirements and abide by onerous record keeping requirements. From this autumn, farmers will also be asked to farm by calendar, meaning that they will not be permitted to apply slurry at certain times of the year. We continue to press for a more proportionate regulatory regime in Wales.”

Sustainable Farming Scheme

NFU Cymru’s Deputy President also talked about the Welsh Government’s recent ‘Sustainable Farming Scheme’ consultation which closed earlier in the month, she said: “NFU Cymru meetings on the SFS saw unprecedented numbers of members coming out to speak with the Union, whilst more than 6,700 farmers made their responses to the consultation via NFU Cymru’s website.  I very much hope that the Welsh Government will appreciate the strength of feeling and concern that exists out there over the SFS proposals and that they will take this as a signal that a major overhaul of scheme proposals is now needed. We must get this scheme right. Neither farming families nor government can afford to have a scheme that fails to deliver on our shared ambitions for food, nature, and climate.”

Speaking after the visit Abi Reader said: “I am really pleased to have been able to welcome Joel out on farm today, there can be little doubt that Welsh agriculture is going through a particularly challenging and uncertain time at the moment and it was good to be able to highlight some of the difficulties we face as a sector in an on-farm setting. I hope that he will be able to take forward our concerns and continue to press upon Welsh Government the need to work with farmers to find solutions which work for farmers, Welsh Government and the Welsh public.

Sustainable Farming Scheme consultation response

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