NFU Cymru has been delighted to welcome Members of the Senedd out on farm to plant a tree as part of the union’s #GrowingTogether campaign.
Members of the Senedd have been planting an oak tree, kindly supplied by Coed Cadw – The Woodland Trust in Wales, as part of NFU Cymru’s recently launched #GrowingTogether strategy for tree planting in Wales.
Against the background of ambitious targets to increase tree cover in Wales to help mitigate and adapt to the challenges presented by climate change, the #GrowingTogether initiative promotes a philosophy to future tree planting in Wales that advocates more trees integrated into farming systems – rather than replacing farming systems, allowing food production, farming, trees, nature, landscapes and rural communities to thrive.
NFU Cymru Presdient John Davies, who launched the campaign on his farm said: “We are delighted that Members of the Senedd are joining us to plant trees on farms across Wales. Engaging with politicians is a vital component of spreading awareness of our #GrowingTogether campaign and sharing our ambitions with all those who have an interest in delivering the outcomes we all want to see.
“At NFU Cymru we firmly believe agriculture is uniquely placed to be part of the solution to climate change and that climate goals should be met in ways that are sustainable and fair. Tree planting targets should not be achieved through a binary choice of farming or forestry, instead Wales’ ambitious targets should be progressed in a way that safeguards the multiple economic, environmental, social and cultural benefits that Welsh farming provides.”
Russell George MS (19 November)
Russell George MS said: “Tackling the climate emergency is the biggest challenge of our time, and farmers have such an important role to play. I am delighted that the Woodland Trust and NFU Cymru are working together, the tree planting scheme will offer opportunities to create green jobs and support the farming industry with additional income. Tree planting should take place in appropriate areas, and it was further helpful to have a discussion regarding the planting of trees by large multinational companies which threaten the future of Welsh agriculture. Tree planting should take place in appropriate ways in the correct areas. My thanks to Rheinallt Wigley for his kind hospitality.”
This tree was also planted in memory of Geraint Wigley, Rheinallt's father and previous NFU Cymru County Chairman who sadly passed away in May.
Sian Gwenllian MS (11 November)
Sian Gwenllian MS said: “The opportunity to discuss NFU Cymru's vision for sustainable tree planting on Welsh farms has been very beneficial. Whole farms should not be swallowed up for tree planting, weakening our communities. The farming families in Arfon are an integral part of the fabric of the area contributing economically, socially and culturally to life in our communities.”
Samuel Kurtz MS (8 November)
“It’s great to be a part of the NFU’s Growing Together campaign, planting a tree here on Windsor farm.
“The agricultural community are rightly excited by the part they can play in tree planting and helping reach our net zero target.
“To see local farmers collaborating with the Woodland Trust shows their commitment to being positive advocates in our fight against climate change.
“I’d urge all union members — and farmers more generally — to plant a tree or two in support of NFU’s Growing Together campaign."
Delyth Jewell MS (5 November)
Delyth Jewell MS said: “It was my pleasure to take part in the Growing Together project and to plant an oak tree in the region. It’s vitally important that the right tree is planted in the right place and for the right reasons, and we should be talking to children in schools and people in the community about the importance of maintaining and sustaining the natural world and its habitats.
“When we talk about the need to tackle climate change, we have to ensure that sustainable farming is seen as a part of the solution, and I’m delighted to have worked with NFU Cymru and Coed Cadw on this project. I’m looking forward to seeing the tree start to grow and follow its magnificent journey.”
Janet Finch-Saunders MS (27 October)
Janet Finch-Saunders MS said: “I am extremely grateful to Huw and Iestyn for the warm welcome I received, and for showing me a truly inspirational farm business, one which creates electricity through the sustainable management of woodland.
“The Growing Together strategy has my full support. We need decisive action to ensure that the right tree is planted in the truly right place, and therefore that the risk of complete afforestation of 3,750 farms – almost one quarter of Welsh family farms – is stopped.”
Cefin Campbell MS (14 October)
Cefin Campbell MS said: “Tree planting can play a vital part in combating climate change and benefiting our environment . I have long supported proposals that work closely with farmers - securing a balanced approach between productive land use and decarbonisation.
“Crucially, we need to ensure we are planting the right tree, in the right place, for the right reason, and as such I welcome NFU’s #GrowingTogether campaign which advocates this purpose.”
Rhun ap Iorwerth MS (11 October)
Rhun ap Iorwerth, Ynys Môn MS, said: “This is an important campaign led by NFU Cymru to promote tree-planting in Wales. I was delighted to join Brian Bown at his farm in Maenaddwyn today (October 11) to plant this beautiful oak.
“It’s vital, as we plant more trees for the sake of our environment, that we work closely with farmers to ensure that our land can be as productive as possible and used as effectively as possible in the battle against climate change.”
Llyr Gruffydd MS (11 October)
Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru's North Wales MS, said: "I'd like to thank Stanley and NFU Cymru for the warm welcome at the farm and for the opportunity to take part in this planting scheme.
"Everyone has a part to play in decarbonising Wales and the world and farmers are ahead of the curve in many respects. It's important that, as we look to safeguard and improve the environment, that we don't lose sight of the communities and people that work the land. Simplistic rewilding merely creates plantations and I'd far rather we adopted a grassroots-based approach that reflects the needs of Wales."
Jayne Bryant MS
Jayne Bryant MS said: “I was delighted to visit Victoria and Ty Mawr Farm and to have the experience of planting on oak tree whilst surrounded by healthy looking chickens. Everybody accepts that trees offer huge potential in tackling climate change but we must plant them sympathetically so that they enhance Wales’ traditional landscape instead of replacing them.”
Jane Hutt MS
Rebecca Evans MS
Lesley Griffiths MS (Rural Affairs Minister)
Rural Affairs Minister, Lesley Griffiths MS said: “As a government, we are absolutely committed to tackling the climate emergency we face today so we can protect future generations.
“It is clear Wales needs a step change to increase woodland creation and farmers have a crucial role to play in these efforts. We want to do this by working with the industry in a way which safeguards the viability of our agricultural businesses. Planting trees will also offer opportunities to create new sources of income and green jobs in our rural communities.
“We will now review and consider the detail of NFU Cymru’s strategy.”
The NFU Cymru #GrowingTogether pledge stems from the union’s Growing Together: A strategy for sustainably increasing tree cover in Wales report, launched in September. The document is a blueprint identifying the barriers and opportunities that exist to deliver on these objectives while safeguarding thriving rural communities and ensuring the continued production of high quality, affordable food in Wales.