NFU Cymru Meirionnydd County Chairman, Rhodri Jones, recently welcomed the newly elected Welsh Senedd Member, Mabon ap Gwynfor, to his farm at Brynllech Uchaf for a discussion with union representatives.
During the on-farm meeting, there were several key issues that those present were keen to discuss. These included future agriculture policy in Wales, acknowledging the need for clarity on the direction of any future support and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments, including the reduction in Rural Development Programme (RDP) funding.
During the meeting it was emphasised that there should be a clear vision with a scheme that would secure farmers’ capacity to produce food. It was also highlighted that any RDP successor programme should be developed early to add value to all the agri-environment work that has already been carried out in Meirionnydd over the last 30 years, through schemes such as Glastir and Tir Gofal.
Members also raised concerns over the new Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) regulations, changes to bovine TB rules in the southern part of the county, planning policy as well as securing housing to ensure that young people can remain in the rural community.
Rhodri Jones said:
“Over the last four years there has been much talk of the changes that face the agriculture industry but with very little detail shared. This lack of clarity is making it very difficult for farmers to identify the future direction of their business and to make wise investments.”
Mabon ap Gwynfor said:
“Agriculture is facing a very uncertain future in Wales. It’s a significantly important sector, not only for our economy here, but also for our culture. Farmers are custodians of our landscape whilst also producing food of the best quality.
“These challenges, between Nitrate Vulnerable Zones and the insecurity around basic payments threaten the viability of many farmers, and we must ensure that our voice is heard at the highest level.
“It was wonderful to visit Brynllech and meet the union representatives to hear their fears, but also their aspirations for the future. I look forward to being a strong voice for local farmers in the Senedd.”
Rhodri added: “These are exciting times for us with a new member representing us at the Senedd and it is good to have been able to welcome him to Brynllech for a discussion. We are confident that Mabon will be a clear voice for Meirionnydd farmers in Cardiff.”
The meeting was held under strict social distancing protocols with a small delegation from the county.