Proposals to revamp the Common Agricultural Policy could have far-reaching consequences for Welsh farmers if they are given the go-ahead, according to the Farmers’ Union of Wales.
The union has begun lobbying for the draft document, which was leaked in Brussels last week (8 August) and sets out rules for future direct payments to farmers, to be changed.
FUW president Emyr Jones told farmers at the Pembrokeshire County Show that the Welsh Government and officials in Brussels must be made aware of the impact the proposals would have on Welsh farmers if they were left unchanged.
“The Regulation implies that there is limited scope in terms of varying flat rate payments between areas, depending upon local needs,” he said.
“Yet we know from the modelling carried out by the Union over the past two years that having one payment rate per hectare for the whole of Wales would be disastrous, especially in areas such as Pembrokeshire where farms are on average smaller, yet can be just as productive as a large upland farm.”
Mr Jones also expressed concern for the implications for dairy farmers in the absence of a Regulation which takes account of local needs.
“In areas such as Pembrokeshire where the dairy industry is so important in terms of rural communities and local employment, any move to an overly simplistic flat rate payment based upon the Welsh average could be devastating,’’ he said.
“The dairy industry is already reeling from the impact of high input costs and low milk prices and a move to a flat rate payment would make many businesses simply unsustainable.’’