A 4th generation farmer has highlighted why ‘Farming Matters’ when he met with Ogmore AM and Welsh Government Minister Huw Irranca-Davies, at his farm to raise awareness of concerns for farming in Wales.
Will Howells who has taken over his grandfather’s 143 hectare holding – Baiden Farm – Cefn Cribwr, Bridgend, which includes owned and rented land, runs 16 cattle and 600 ewes. The family have also invested in 2 Gaia wind turbines on the farm, which were installed in 2015 and 2014 and the farm is in the Glastir Entry and Advanced scheme.
Following the visit the Ogmore AM stated: “My thanks to Will and his family for spending time showing me the farm. I was pleased to see how successful they had been in diversifying their business, involving contracted-out services, renewable energy generation alongside the traditional rearing of sheep and cattle. We discussed many aspects of modern farming, and I’m glad to see Will and the FUW Farming Union demanding that Wales does not lose out in powers or funding because of Brexit.The UK government says that it wants to take charge for an indeterminate period of time, which is a direct power-grab from Wales. They need to think again.”
Speaking at his farm, Will said: “I would like to thank Huw Irranca-Davies AM for joining us here at Baiden Farm and listening to our concerns about the future of our industry. We discussed many farming issues such as funding for the future, the next generation of farmers and how we can attract more young people to take up farming, Bovine TB and agri-environmental schemes. It is very important that the public and politicians, understand the implications if farming gets a bad deal after we leave the EU and what is likely to happen to food security, our rural economy and way of life here in Wales.”
Rachel Saunders, the FUW’s Glamorgan CEO highlighted the need for urgent funding security and said: “We know that the UK Government has said that it will match the current EU budget that supports farming and our rural economies, but how that money gets to Wales and how it is managed has not been determined. That of course is a real problem for our farmers like Will and his family, because they can’t plan for future.
“It is encouraging to hear First Minister Carwyn Jones backing the industry and we recently heard him say that “agricultural funding will have to be held in a separate pot and dealt with in a different way”. However, there is a risk that it could go through the Barnett Formula, which will reduce the £260m to approximately £150 million and spell disaster for our rural economy. The FUW is now actively lobbying for the money to be assigned from the UK Government to Wales, for agriculture and we really appreciated being able to raise this with Huw Irranca-Davies here on farm.”