FARMERS CAN’T BE EXPECTED TO SHOULDER THE BURDEN ALONE

HIRES_Page_01_Image_0002THE FUW has told Assembly Members in Cardiff at its annual Farmhouse breakfast that farmers can’t be expected to shoulder the burden of in‐effective bovine disease control measures any longer and renewed its call to tackle the disease in badger populations. Speaking at the 17th Farmhouse breakfast FUW president Glyn Roberts told Assembly Members that: “We cannot expect farmers to continue to shoulder the burden of new interventions without there being appropriate support, nor can we ignore the call for pro‐active management of disease in wildlife.” Mr Roberts acknowledged that whilst farmers see some progress in terms of dealing with diseased badgers, the FUW strongly urges the Welsh Government to address the issue of badger culling far more robustly. “Nearly 10,000 cattle were slaughtered last year, in a one‐sided approach to dealing with the problem. The results of the recent consultation show that the farmers of Wales are expecting a more robust solution that also deals with wildlife,” he told Assembly Members and breakfast guests. He further stressed that we must not fall into the trap of forming opinions based on emotions rather than facts in political and public life and that there is an urgent need to base our future strategy on evidence based information from impartial research. Appreciating that we are living in different times, challenging times, and perhaps the most uncertain times that many of us will have experienced in decades, Mr Roberts further said that the decision to leave the European Union will have a profound effect on the Welsh economy, none more so than the agricultural sector. “Although we must be optimistic and hope for the best possible outcome following the referendum result and the plans laid out by Prime Minister Theresa May, we cannot HIRES_Page_01_Image_0001hide from reality: 90 per cent of Welsh agricultural exports go to the EU, and 80 per cent of farmers income is derived from the Common Agricultural Policy,” added Mr Roberts. Breakfast guests in Cardiff Bay further heard that the union has spent a lot of time around tables with other organisations discussing a way forward for the agricultural industry in the last six months and that in collaboration with the Welsh Government, the FUW and other organisations, have come together to craft a vision for agriculture post‐Brexit. “I’m really pleased at both the progress and the level of engagement that we have seen over recent months but none of us truly know what the future holds and of course the details of any settlement will be crucial. “But the FUW is convinced that the devolved powers for agriculture will be best managed through a carefully crafted framework that recognises the power of devolution, and by working closely with our Government here in Wales, we will be able to create a solution that is right for Wales.”

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