29 September 2000

Welsh back youth

PLAID Cymrus annual conference at Llandudno backed calls for more young people to be given the opportunity to farm.

Delegates attending the meeting voted for early retirement pensions of £10,000 to £20,000 to be paid for between five and 10 years. The party, which holds the chairmanship of the national assemblys agriculture committee, agreed that a new generation of young farmers and their families had to be encouraged to replace one where the average age was over 60.

They also rejected a motion to ban fox hunting, following a stormy debate during which Cynog Dafis, AM for mid and west Wales, warned that passing it would be "dicing with the rural vote".

References to the beleaguered state of Welsh farming and its impact on the rural economy and infrastructure cropped up in several debates on topics like Objective 1 funding, rural transport, health service provisions and pollution. Most delegates supported a better deal for agriculture in general and family farms in particular.