WELSH FARMERS are being urged to apply to join the new Tir Cynnal entry level agri-environment scheme to mitigate the impact of modulation.

Alun Edwards, chairman of the Meirionnydd county branch of the Farmers Union of Wales, told members attending a farm walk near Tywyn that they had the opportunity to pick up about £3,000 a year for doing little more than meeting the soon to be published Welsh cross compliance rules.

“Half of what you get paid will come from modulation and the rest from government match funding, so the scheme is a good way of attracting new money into the industry,” Mr Edwards claimed.

To apply farmers simply had to tick a box on their 2005 IACS form and produce a farm map showing features like water courses, woodland and wetland.

Applicants would also need to write a resource management plan mainly, covering the storage and use of manures, fertilisers, agro-chemicals and fuel oils.

They would also have to show how they would protect water quality.

“You can get independent practical help with you application from Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group Cymru,” said Mr Edwards.

“It is a good way of getting paid for what you will have to do anyway to get your single farm payments.”

The FUW members also heard concerns that environmental and financial pressures  could affect the maintenance of protection measures necessary to prevent 100s of ha of the Dysynni estuary from winter flooding.

Richard ap Simon Jones said around 100ha of his family‘s Ysguboriau farm was below sea level, and they relied on good maintenance of drainage channels and an earth wall embankment built in the 1850s.

The former chairman of the Gwynedd Flood Defence Committee insisted that failure to ensure that river and drainage water could get to the sea would damage farming and important wildlife habitats.

Dylan Williams, an Environment Agency project officer, warned local farmers that bacterial levels in the Dysynni were too high and farm checks were underway.

Correcting the problem would benefit the river wildlife, tourism and the whole local economy, he said.