19 May 2000

Stop attacking union, Welsh members urged

WELSH NFU members have been urged to resist the temptation to hit out against their union and its leaders.

Richard Watson Jones, vice president, told the unions Welsh Council that he fully understood the fury and frustration of farmers who had their backs to the wall – his business was also under the cosh.

But there was a grave danger of forcing NFU leaders to spend a lot of time defending the democratic operation of the NFU, when they should be dealing with the huge challenges facing the industry.

"Dont be destructive," said Mr Watson Jones. "When things are very difficult farmers tend to criticise their own and other organisations, and the characters involved."

The NFU was a dynamic organisation ready to change to serve the needs of all producers.

In response to questions, he acknowledged concern in Wales that the new British Food logo must be an extra sign of quality and farm assurance, and not as a replacement for existing promotional marks.

He agreed with Hugh Richards, president, and Glamorgan chairman Jonathan Bird that the proliferation of small milk marketing groups in Wales could undermine producer power. Pembroke delegate Meurig Raymond urged him to press the NFU to do something about soaring fertiliser prices and other input costs. &#42