17 November 2000

Avoid whingeing & fight, Welsh urged

YOUNG Welsh farmers have been urged to steer clear of the industrys whingeing culture, and to get out and fight for a better deal.

Meirion Thomas, chairman of Future Farmers of Wales, told the organisations annual conference at Builth Wells, Powys, that too many farmers would rather moan and groan and leave it to others to do their fighting for them, instead of getting up and doing something about their problems themselves.

"There are still real opportunities out there, but many farmers ignore them. We must overcome our differences and learn to work together for the good of Welsh agriculture."

He suggested that farmers had to educate themselves about the market-place, adding value and branding, and be in a position to anticipate changing demand and be proactive, rather than reacting to it with gloom and despondency.

Farmers should not fear the attentions of an often critical public. They should not stand aloof, but see the interest as an opportunity to teach outsiders about their way of life, hopes and aspirations.

"When it comes to food production honesty must be the best policy. We have nothing to fear, as we have nothing to hide. Many of the people out there are just like us, trying to do a difficult job under difficult circumstances. All we are trying to do is produce a quality product as efficiently and safely as possible and I am sick and tired of being told to be ashamed of my industry."