NFU Cymru responds to First Minister’s comments on farm support

22 July 2022

Political lobbying
Welsh Landscape

NFU Cymru has sought to re-emphasise the value of Welsh farming and the many benefits it delivers to society in the wake of comments made by the First Minister of Wales.  

Reports attributed to the First Minister state that farmers must ‘deliver services taxpayers are willing to invest in’ and that he must ‘justify’ money spent on Welsh farming to those not living or working in the sector.

Multiple benefits

Following the return of the Royal Welsh Show – the UK’s premier showcase of the best Welsh agriculture has to offer – NFU Cymru is again making clear that Welsh farming delivers multiple benefits to the people and communities of Wales.

NFU Cymru President Aled Jones said: “Welsh farmers take great pride in feeding the nation, even in the face of significant recent challenges including the Coronavirus pandemic and the current impact of rising inflation on farming businesses. While our role as food producers is paramount, particularly against the backdrop of a growing population and concerns over food scarcity, it is extremely important that the public and governments recognise the multiple benefits delivered by Welsh farming.”

Reducing climate impacts

“For generations farmers across Wales have carried out work on-farm that delivers widespread benefits, not least to Wales’ environment. Farmers across Wales undertake a huge amount of work to maintain and enhance our iconic Welsh landscapes, encourage wildlife and reduce our climate impacts.

“Farmers are perhaps as exposed to the effects of climate change as any sector and the industry is committed to working towards NFU Cymru’s 2040 net zero ambition, producing the most climate-friendly food in the world.”

Abi Reader's video

NFU Cymru Deputy President Abi Reader said: “Public funds provided to Welsh agriculture should be viewed as an investment. For less than 2% of the overall Welsh Government budget, support for farming enables farmers to deliver a range of services. Welsh farmers care for and manage 80% of the land in Wales, managing landscapes that attract millions of tourists every year. We enhance the environment on our farms, boost biodiversity and provide habitats for nature. The sector underpins the £8billion Welsh food and drink industry, which is Wales’ largest employer with over 230,000 people linked to roles in the sector.

Champions of Welsh language

“Let’s never forget that farmers are the foundation of the rural economy as they redistribute their income in their local community and that we are champions of Welsh language, culture and heritage. Every £1 of public money invested in agriculture delivers a return of over £7 to the economy of Wales. The Royal Welsh Show is a perfect example of the wide range of businesses who depend on a strong, resilient Welsh farming sector. Put simply – money invested in farming is returned with added value for all.

“As a sector we are not resistant to change. Ongoing challenges have highlighted the resilience and versatility of farming businesses, while the sector is constantly striving to adapt and innovate to maximise efficiency and reduce its footprint. We need to ensure that these changes do not inhibit our farmers from producing food, not least when the reality of global food scarcity has been starkly highlighted in recent months.   

Agriculture (Wales) Bill

“As Welsh Government embarks on its own agricultural policy and a future bill in the Senedd, we need a policy to deliver high quality, affordable food, alongside delivering for nature and climate change. It is imperative that new schemes work for every farmer, in every sector, in every area of Wales.

“It has been a fantastic week with the return of the Royal Welsh Show attracting people from every corner of Wales. It has been great to see people unite in this unique celebration of what agriculture delivers in Wales, which of course will likely be replicated during the summer with the return of county and local shows throughout the country. Our ongoing survey work with Welsh consumers continues to highlight that Welsh farming is highly valued by the general public and engagement events, such as Open Farm Sunday, demonstrate the healthy appetite that the public has in learning about the work taking place on our farms. We believe all these factors highlight that the public recognise the many benefits delivered by Welsh farming and the exceptional value the sector delivers to every person living in Wales.”

The full NFU Cymru seminar at the Royal Welsh Show

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