Rhodri Morgan, the Welsh Assembly’s first minister, has ignored calls to create a exclusively agricultural ministerial portfolio.

Instead he has appointed Jane Davidson as minister responsible for sustainability, rural development and planning.

Carwyn Jones, who was responsible for rural affairs and planning in the last administration is the new education, culture and language minister in  a smaller cabinet. 

Gareth Vaughan, president of the Farmers Union of Wales welcomed the appointment of Ms Davidson.

“We are well aware that she will have a different title to her predecessor Carwyn Jones, who was Minister for Environment, Planning and the Countryside, but her portfolio includes climate change, sustainable development, environment, agriculture, energy and planning,.

“The FUW has dealt amicably with Ms Davidson in the past through her involvement, as education minister, so she is well aware of the difficulties facing young people wishing to enter agriculture.

“Also, she responded favourably to representations from the FUW asking her to re-introduce practical cookery classes on to the school curriculum. I hope her successor Carwyn Jones will now show the same enthusiasm for this issue.”

Mr Vaughan added that the new minister faced challenges, but as current Welsh vice president of the Ramblers Association she was well versed in the countryside and the many issues facing Welsh farming today.

“We look forward to working with her to ensure that our traditional Welsh farming families are preserved. We will remind her regularly that for that to happen they need sustainable incomes otherwise we will lose the knowledge that these families have learned over the years.”