FARMER FOCUS: Welsh subsidy under threat

For my final Farmer Focus article I attempt to peer into the Welsh farming future.

At Cwmfron, the profit has frequently been paid for by the subsidy received. The livestock enterprises often make little or no money. I suspect this is common on Welsh farms. This subsidy is now under considerable threat.

This year we lost our TyMynnydd (HLCA), taking away 7% of our subsidy. In 2014 we will receive our last Tir Gofal payment. We then enter a period of transition in which our Welsh single payment, which was historically based, moves to an all-Wales area payment and, by my calculations, subsidy income on this farm will be down by 70% by 2020. This figure is unique to our farm, but I fear many in Wales will be in a similar position.

If these figures prove correct then I will destock. As I am close to retirement this will not be too much of a worry, but the consequences for the supermarkets in terms of meat supply will be dire if other farmers follow our example. I hope the powers that be have the wisdom to see that this vital payment is essential if we are not to be dependent on imports.

Many thanks to all those people who have commented over the four-and-a-half years that Alex and I have been writing these pieces and we wish you all the very best for the future.

Jolyon and Alex Higgs farm beef and sheep in Llanidloes, while their son Tom farms beef, sheep and cereals on the Gower in partnership with Alex and her parents.

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