by Glyn Roberts, FUW president
hOW often do we ask ‘what time is it’ or say ‘oh is that the time already’ and ‘where has the time gone today’? Time, is probably the most precious thing we have, and we must use it wisely.
i find it hard to believe how fast the time has gone over the last few months or even the last year! if i cast my mind back to last year’s September edition of Y Tir, we were discussing the need for agricultural frameworks in a Brexit context and were discussing the dangers of a future framework with even more flexibility and that such a thing would be just as concerning as a Westminster power-grab.
in fact it was exactly 12 months ago that we stressed how terrifying it would be if we had a situation where Wales could decide to abandon all farm support and focus on nothing but clean beaches and flood management, while Scotland decides to pay large subsidies for sheep and beef production, and england invests everything it’s got in pig and dairy processing – while all our produce continues to be sold side-by-side in the supermarkets and elsewhere.
as we pointed out at the time, the market distortions and unfair competition would be catastrophic, and this was not a future we wanted to see for Wales.
Fast forward 12 months and we are looking at Welsh Government proposals which reflect exactly such a scenario – cue the Welsh Government ‘Brexit and our land’ consultation paper where they propose replacing the Basic Payments which makes up 80 per cent of farm incomes with what is a souped up Glastir agri-environment scheme, by 2025. That’s just seven years in the future.
So time is of the essence. We have exactly eight weeks left to make sure that we as farmers respond to these proposals – and to encourage anyone else with an interest in the future of Wales to do the same.
Our county offices have already held a number of open meetings across Wales for people to hear about the consultation, ask questions and discuss their concerns, and there are still a fair few more coming up. Details of the meetings can be found on page 4.
and anyone with an interest in the future of agriculture in Wales should read the FUW’s consultation breakdown on pages 10 and 11, which asks some pertinent questions and should not leave anyone under any illusions as to the future we could be facing if the Welsh Government proposals are implemented.
Politics is the art of the possible. it is possible to stop these proposals, but only if farmers and others make their voices heard in the time left until the consultation closes on October 30 – let’s make sure that we use the time we have wisely!