THE PRIMARY role of farmers is set to change from food production to land management, says the chairman of the Countryside Council for Wales.

John Lloyd Jones, a Meirionydd beef and sheep producer who once chaired the NFU‘s Welsh Council, told union members attending a meeting in Glamorgan that they should not fear the switch of emphasis.

They could, he insisted, take on countryside and environmental management and do it “better and cheaper” than anyone else.

There was no doubt that the countryside would become even more open to the public, and he conceded that visitors had to assume more responsibility for their behaviour.

“It is imperative that proper codes of conduct are drawn up so that when people visit they show respect for their surroundings,” said Mr Lloyd Jones.

“As farmers you have a role to play in informing the public about the countryside in order for everyone to enjoy it.”

His audience left him in no doubt that urban pressure on livestock producers was far greater in areas of dense population like Glamorgan than in west Wales where he farmed.

Mr Jones agreed to return to the county to study the particular problems faced by those farming on the urban fringe, such as stock worrying by dogs, vandalism, theft and fly tipping.