10 July 1998

Support family farms

FARM support must be targeted to protect traditional family farms and local rural economies, says the Farmers Union of Wales.

Speaking at the Royal Show, Bob Parry, FUW president, insisted he would do his utmost to ensure that the changes outlined in the Commissions Agenda 2000 CAP reform proposals would benefit small-scale farm enterprises.

He advocated a tiered and digressive approach to payments that should reflect the economies of scale enjoyed by large farms. "The union believes that stories of so-called barley barons collecting £m cheques have harmed the reputation of the CAP," said Mr Parry.

He would press ministers to direct budget savings, resulting from the imposition of ceilings on commodity supports, to national aid packages.

and not returned to the EU.

Mr Parry also attacked the farm amalgamation requirement of the proposed early retirement scheme, which he said would lead to ranch farming and threaten rural communities.

"The government should seek, in the context of the Agenda 2000 negotiations, amendments that would allow incentives for early retirement in combination with aids to young farmers."

FUW officials used their visit to the show to canvass broader support for the Farmers Ferry project. They emphasised that while the initiative started in Wales, it would provide an export route to Europe that would benefit the whole industry.