Wales’ farming minister is being urged to review his proposal to pay farmers in moorland areas £42/ha under plans to deliver the single farm payment through a two-tier system.
About 200 farmers gathered at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells on Thursday night (12 September) to tell Alun Davies how they think the new single payment system should work after January 2015.
Under a two-tier system, farmers would be paid just £42/ha compared to £204/ha for more productive land. Farmers in mid-Wales said this would lead to a severe reduction in their incomes and they want money to be redirected from lowland producers.
Glasnant Morgan, who runs a beef and sheep farm at Talybont-on-Usk, near Brecon, said some farmers would lose 60% of their single farm payment if the moorland option were implemented.
“I would willingly swap two acres of my land for one acre of lowland, because it would be at least twice as productive. If money is redirected it has to come from the lowlands,” he said.
The meeting at Builth Wells was the first of a series of face-to-face meetings to be held across Wales with Alun Davies.
Wales will switch from an historic payments model to an area-based system – and the minister is keen to hear the views of farmers on his proposals, which include a five-year transition to a wholly area-based payment system by 2019 and capping large payments beyond Europe’s mandatory requirements.
Mr Davies said he wants to know what people think of his proposals before he makes any final decisions. “That’s why I am holding open sessions across Wales over the next few weeks that will allow people to discuss these proposals with me directly.”
Further meetings with the minister, which will all begin at 7.30pm, will be held at David Hughes High School, Pentraeth Road, Menai Bridge, on 17 September, the Lecture Theatre, Llysfasi College, Ruthin, on 18 September, Glen-Yr-Afon House Hotel, Pontypool Road, Usk, on 26 September, Nantyffin Hotel, Llandissilio, on 3 October, and Y Plas, Heol Pentrerhedyn, Machynlleth, on 10 October.