My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

FUW Anglesey members voice industry concerns to local MP

FUW Anglesey meeting Virginia Crosbie L-R: Peter Williams; FUW President Glyn Roberts;County President Gerald Thomas; County Chairman William Hughes; Virginia Crosbie MP; William Williams; Richard Williams, FUW Group Managing Director Guto Bebb; FUW Vice-President Eifion Huws

Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) members and officials recently met with Anglesey MP Virginia Crosbie to discuss the most urgent issues affecting the industry. Hosting the visit was FUW Anglesey county chairman William Hughes, who farms 45 commercial suckler cows and a flock of 350 ewes on the 240 acre farm near Holyhead.

At the top of the agenda of discussion were the trade deals with Australia and New Zealand, the Northern Ireland protocol and the agricultural budget allocation for Wales. Union officials also took the opportunity to raise the issue of procurement for school meals on the island.

Speaking after the visit, FUW Anglesey county chairman William Hughes said: “We discussed many important issues with Virginia Crosbie here today and I thank her for her time. Anglesey is all about agriculture and tourism and safeguarding those is as important as attracting new industry to the island.”

Union officials who joined the farm visit further highlighted concerns about UK trade deals. FUW President, Glyn Roberts, who attended the meeting, said the deals could open the doors to cheap meat imports from sources that do not adhere to the UK’s strict environmental and animal welfare laws.

“The UK Government’s announcement of an agreement in principle with New Zealand that would phase out tariffs on imports of lamb and other food products is a major concern for Welsh farmers. It also adds to concerns following the announcement in June of a similar agreement with Australia.

“New Zealand and Australia will be the overwhelming beneficiaries of such trade deals while the economic benefits for the UK are negligible. There could be serious adverse impacts for Welsh farmers and the communities and supply chains they support.”

The MP further heard concerns about the Northern Ireland protocol, with Union officials renewing their call for the UK Government to work within the Northern Ireland (NI) protocol.

“We urged Virginia Corsbie to relay our concerns to the UK Government and to carefully consider the benefits of the concessions put forward by the European Union – or risk severe adverse impacts for UK businesses from a breakdown in trade relations between the UK and EU,” said Glyn Roberts.

In addition, members raised concerns about the spending review and the relative cuts to Wales’ agricultural and rural development funding allocation. Members highlighted that the UK Government’s decision to further slash the Welsh agricultural and rural development budget by an average of £37 million per year for the next three years breaks their promise to farmers and rural communities yet again.

“Such cuts will undermine family farms, the rural economy and rural employment at a time of extreme uncertainty. I can assure members that we will continue to monitor further announcements on the spending review and engage with the Welsh Government on how these cuts will influence devolved funding allocations,” added the Union President.

Concluding the visit, William Hughes highlighted the opportunity for schools on Anglesey to support their farming community, whilst ensuring children have a nutritious, sustainable and locally sourced diet. He said: “Farmers here produce some of the best food in terms of nutrition and also in terms of sustainability.

“Whilst there are many uncertainties facing our industries, much more could be done to support the industry locally and ensuring that school meals make use of the food that is produced here on Anglesey would be a step in the right direction.”