What a year it’s been

by Alan Davies, FUW Managing Director

IT’S December and nearly Christmas and that means that I’ve now been working at the Farmers’ Union of Wales for almost a year, and without doubt it has been one of the happiest years of my working life. I have never worked with such a committed group of people who are so passionate about what they do and who they are doing it for. Our members have been incredibly welcoming and have helped me to settle very quickly, giving me help and advice at every opportunity. For that I am hugely grateful. And the challenges have been significant: when I started in this role we all knew we’d be having a referendum before September 2017, but of course it arrived 15 months early! The fallout from that has been significant and there is still no clear path to the future. Political changes continue, not least of course with the American election results, the impact of which will hit us in greater detail in the months to come. The policy team is now dealing with a number of very important consultations from the Welsh Government and working hard at producing appropriate responses to them based on wide internal consultation. It is not underestimating it to say some of the proposals could have very big implications for our members so our well‐crafted responses to the proposals are critical. But the biggest item on the agenda is without doubt Brexit. This has to be the one issue everyone wants to discuss and where we are asking for clarity as soon as possible. We remain fully engaged with the Welsh Government in developing thinking about what might happen, and the president recently met with George Eustice in London to gain a better understanding of how the UK Government see the future. But clarity is still lacking. As can be seen from the national news, the arguments about Brexit and legal challenges make progress challenging. It is only by being fully engaged that we can try to both influence and understand what is happening and that will be a priority for the coming months and years. Finally, may I wish all our members and all of our staff a very Merry Christmas and I look forward to another hectic and fulfilling New Year.

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