7 May 1999

Call to represent farming in the UKwith single voice

By Robert Davies

WHOEVER speaks for farming in Scotland, Wales and Ulster will contribute to UK farming policy decisions, regardless of their political affiliations.

Farm minister Nick Brown said he believed in "grown up government", which meant consulting the three ministers appointed. He hoped the people involved would accept the invitation in the right spirit, and not put party politics above the need to ensure all farmers were properly represented in the EU.

Opening the Farmers Union of Waless new £250,000 headquarters at Aberystwyth, Mr Brown said that the ministers, who will not have seats at the Council of Ministers, would nevertheless be welcome to be part of his team.

"I want constructive dialogue," Mr Brown said. "We need partnership to agreed a common line on policy issues regardless of party."

He added that he wanted things to continue as before devolution. "I want have the same discussions and to represent our country speaking with one voice."

Policies had to come through at home and in Europe that ensured farmers had a decent living in return for all their hard work.

He wanted to hear about the particular problems in all parts of the UK, such as the impact of reform of the Hill Livestock Compensatory Allowances system on the more intensively stocked Welsh less favoured areas.

Mr Brown said he was absolutely determined that Wales would not be disadvantaged and there should be no outflow of HLCA money. While funding in 1997/98 would be ringfenced, he could not guarantee the same for the increased level of spending this year. &#42

"Minister in training for a new job ahead of a summer cabinet reshuffle" was the joke caption suggested by farm minister Nick Brown as he was photographed planting a tree to commemorate his opening of the new headquarters of Farmers Union of Wales at Aberystwyth.

Animal medicine code of practice

THE Veterinary Medicines Direc-torate (VMD) has produced a new code of practice to help farmers ensure that animal medicines are used in a safe, effective and responsible way.

The guide sets out simple measures that farmers should take when using animal medicines. There are no new requirements, but it draws together information on record keeping, withdrawal periods, storage procedures and how to administer medicines properly.

At the launch, farm minister Nick Brown said: "I believe the publication of this code will make an important contribution to our efforts to ensure consumers have access to safe and wholesome food."

The code has the support of manufacturers and distributors of animal medicines. A representative of their trade body, the National Office for Animal Health, described it as a welcome reminder of all the general principles of responsible animal medicine use.

The leaflet Responsible Use of Animal Medicines on the Farm is available free from the VMD (01932-338408). &#42