2 January 2002
Welsh youth want to leave the land

By Robert Davies, Wales correspondent

MORE than 40% of farmers questioned at the Welsh Winter Fair last month said their children did not want to follow them into the industry.

They cited low incomes and lack of financial security as the main reasons why young people were determined to seek a career elsewhere.

Almost 70% of those who took part in the Farmers Union of Wales survey admitted that they had no confidence in the future of farming.

A similar percentage claimed that switching to organic production was not the answer, according to results released on Wednesday (2 January).

Three-quarters of almost 1000 respondents believed that MAFF and Defra had not performed well during the foot-and-mouth crisis.

A similar number wanted more power devolved to the Welsh Assembly.

More than 50% of those questioned opposed vaccination to fight foot-and-mouth. But one in four said it should be used in a future epidemic.

Many were dissatisfied with the supermarket voluntary code of practice, designed to regulate the relationship between retailers and farmers.

The survey found that 94% of respondents believed the government must introduce laws forcing retailers to deal fairly with suppliers.

Bob Parry, FUW president, said the survey confirmed the adverse conditions within farming that the union had been warning about for years.

He pledged to continue campaigning for better prices, help for young farmers and curbs on the power wielded by supermarkets.

Mr Parry said he was disturbed that the survey revealed that many farmers had no intention of signing up for free business advice.

Producers had everything to gain and nothing to lose by taking advice offered by the Welsh Assembly Farming Connect project, he added.