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FUW says research farm closure a major blow




Welsh Government plans to sell Pwllpeiran research farm in Ceredigion as separate lots from next autumn was described as a major blow for the Welsh farming industry by Farmers’ Union of Wales president Emyr Jones today.

“For the best part of a century, Pwllpeiran has played an important role in the development of agriculture in Wales and in terms of global agriculture,” said Mr Jones.

“The pioneering work of the former Welsh Plant Breeding Station’s founder George Stapleton and others is still recognised internationally as being intrinsically linked with Pwllpeiran.

“We have today written to agriculture deputy minister Alun Davies explaining that a central aim of the work at the farm was to significantly improve the viability of farming in the uplands, thereby ensuring continued agricultural productivity in disadvantaged areas while also stemming rural depopulation.

“There is no doubt whatsoever that these objectives were met and that thousands of farming families such as my own owe our very existence to that work,” said Mr Jones, whose upland beef and sheep farm at Bala won the British Grassland Society’s top UK grassland award in 2008.

Against a background of rising global populations and diminishing natural resources, it is essential research is undertaken which will allow farmers to produce more food while having less impact on our environment, the union stressed in its letter to the minister.

“The aspirations of Stapleton and others are more pertinent today than they have ever been and it is particularly ironic that news of the sale of Pwllpeiran came during the same week that saw discussions at the Oxford Farming Conference focussing on the importance of stepping up agricultural research and development,” said Mr Jones.

“Therefore, the decision to sell our only significant upland research land, rather than ensuring its continued use for important and ground-breaking work, represents a backwards step for agriculture in Wales.

“I would urge the Welsh Government to consider all possible options which would allow its continued use for research,” added Mr Jones.


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