Preseli Pembrokeshire MP hears about farming challenges

Concerns over the impact of CAP reform, bovine TB and renewable energy on Welsh farms were highlighted by Farmers' Union of Wales officials and staff during a visit to family-run farming businesses by Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb.

farmer and son

Facing the future together Wyn Jones (left) and his son Eurig

Wyn and Glenda Jones, of Pantyderi and Trefach farms at Blaenffos, together with their son Eurig and Wyn’s mother Janet Jones rear beef and sheep plus arable acreage for home consumption on both holdings which run to 1,000 acres in total.

Seven hundred acres are permanent pasture, 100 acres are used for short term grass leys, 150 acres for arable spring barley, oats and winter wheat and 100 acres for forage crops stubble turnips, rape and swedes.

Across the two businesses the family farms 80 suckler cows, 350-400 store cattle – which are housed between November and May – 2,500 outdoor lambing ewes and keep 2,000-3,000 store lambs.

The family has diversified into renewable energy with 104 kw solar installation and also offer self-catering cottages.

crabb visit group

From left, Eurig, Glenda and Wyn Jones, Stephen Crabb MP and FUW finance and organisation committee south Wales member Brian Thomas

Trefach Farm is currently under TB restrictions and is located within the Intensive Action Area. This has caused problems for the business as before the first TB short interval test, over 60 days after the breakdown occurred, the family was not allowed to buy in any store cattle for finishing.

The regular purchase of store cattle is essential to the business to ensure a constant supply of fat cattle into the food chain all year round.

“We are glad that we had the opportunity to discuss various farming issues, affecting all sectors, with Mr Crabb here at the farm,” said newly-elected FUW Pembrokeshire county chairman Hywel Vaughan.

“It is always good to show those, who don’t regularly come into close contact with the issues the farming industry faces, what happens on the ground.

“We emphasised the importance of ensuring the best financial deal possible for farmers in Wales during the CAP reform discussions and the need for a long transition period to allow businesses to adjust to any decreases in payments to their businesses.

“This is particularly important to farm businesses in Pembrokeshire as many farmers currently have high value entitlements due to the highly productive nature of farms in the area and would therefore see a significant drop in the amount of payment received after the reforms,” added Mr Vaughan.

Wyn Jones said: “It was a pleasure to have Mr Crabb as a visitor to our farm. The day was warm and sunny and it proved an ideal time to share views informally.

“It also gave us as individuals the insight as to how the UK Government and the Welsh Assembly regard agriculture in Wales. Being a family farm and employing local people it was important to hear his views as to the ongoing discussions on the CAP reforms.

“Traceability of produce was discussed and the MP was given a tour of the farm and shown grazing livestock destined for various outlets that would eventually be enjoyed by people in Wales and beyond but nevertheless be completely traceable – a very important reassurance given recent events,” added Mr Jones.

Mr Crabb said: “Agriculture is vitally important to Pembrokeshire’s rural economy and it is important for me as the local MP to keep in close touch with local farmers.

“I was very interested to learn about the way that Pantyderi is farmed. I particularly enjoyed the farm tour to view the livestock, land and buildings and to hear from Wyn Jones about each part of the farm’s operation.

“I value the meetings organised by the FUW as they give me the opportunity to discuss government policy with farmers and get feedback on the challenges that they face at this time,” added Mr Crabb.

 

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