2009: Key industry figures look ahead

What are the big issues facing farmers in 2009? Key industry figures do a bit of crystal-ball gazing to predict the future

Gareth VaughanGARETH VAUGHAN

President, Farmers Union of Wales

Animal diseases and who pays to control them when they occur are a concern. It would be unfair to burden hard-pressed farmers with extra costs, especially when border controls are inadequate. However, we will be pressing members to help themselves by using bluetongue vaccine in the spring.

I also want to sit down with other relevant industry stakeholders early in 2009 to discuss the medium and long-term implications of the CAP health check for Welsh farmers.

It is very important that the Welsh assembly uses what freedom of action it has to ensure that future policy helps all sectors of Welsh farming.

With 80% of Welsh farmland designated as LFA I am keen to ensure that those who farm there continue to get the support they need, without penalising lowland producers.

Stakeholders also have to model what would happen if Wales eventually moved away from historical to flat-rate single farm payments.

Alistair-MackintoshALISTAIR MACKINTOSH

NFU Livestock chairman

If we are to maintain supply and maintain our own food security we have to have better returns from the marketplace to appreciate that.

Whatever regulations come in regarding EID, farmers will have to work with it, but regulations have to be fit for purpose. I’d like the marketplace to deliver a reward for extra traceability. EID has come in as a disease control measure which is not fit for purpose as it would not prevent such diseases.

I’d like to see movement towards a final resolution on the TB issue in respect to the disease reservoir in wildlife. We need recognition that the disease in badgers needs to be controlled. The government needs to face up to its responsibilities and allow us to tackle the wildlife reservoir.

Jim MaclarenJIM MCLAREN

President, NFU Scotland

The haemorrhaging of livestock from Scotland’s hills and uplands is the most pressing concern of NFU Scotland and is nothing short of a crisis. We are currently in discussion with the Scottish government about finding ways of giving farmers in these areas the economic support they require to stay and produce feeder livestock for the rest of the country. A whole range of government targets – social, environmental and food policy – rely on agriculture being viable in the hills and uplands, and that is not currently the case. We have to find solutions in 2009.

Coming up tomorrow… Peter Kendall, Joanne Denny-Finch and John Uffold

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