Farming

Ceredigion farmers raise concerns with local AMs

Met Ceredigion farmers: local AM Simon Thomas
Met Ceredigion farmers: local AM Simon Thomas

MILK price volatility, ongoing uncertainty around the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the future shape of the Rural Development Programme (RDP) for Wales were discussed when Ceredigion NFU Cymru officeholders met with local politicians, Elin Jones AM and Simon Thomas AM, at an on-farm meeting in Tynygraig at the end of 2014. Ceredigion NFU Cymru County Chairman Wyn Evans said, “2014 has been a difficult year for the agricultural industry in the county with the impacts of price volatility being felt across all the main commodity sectors, most recently for our dairy farmers. This is having a knock-on effect to the confidence of farmers making the necessary investments in their businesses to build for the future.”

Mr Evans continued, “This market volatility only serves to illustrate the importance of the Single Farm Payment to the bottom line of our farm businesses. This has been significantly reduced in 2014 however, primarily as a result of the Welsh Government’s pillar transfer decision. “This decision has been made and cannot be reversed; our focus now must be on ensuring that support from the new RDP in Wales is easily accessible to all farmers.

The RDP Wales will have a budget of nearly £1billion for the next six years and Welsh Government must deliver significant funds back to farmers and help ensure that every farmer has the opportunity to access this resource to improve the viability of our farming enterprises.” Mr Evans added, “There’s also a lot of uncertainty now around the implementation of the new Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) in Wales in the wake of the Welsh Government’s recent decision to quash the regulations that defined the BPS regions and payment rates which were meant to come into effect in 2015.

We now wait for the Welsh Government to provide viable alternative proposals and I sincerely hope that a solution can be found that minimises disruption, as much as possible, in the move from historic to area based payments.” Mr Evans concluded, “We’re grateful to our local Assembly Members for coming out on-farm to meet with us and to hear our concerns. The agricultural industry forms the backbone of the rural economy and sustains our local communities. As farmers we urge Elin Jones and Simon Thomas and their fellow Assembly Members in Cardiff Bay to hold the Welsh Government to account and to ensure that they deliver policies that can help support farming and food production here in Ceredigion and throughout the rest of Wales.”

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Dayne Stone

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