Call for Wales’ farmers to be heard in Europe

NFU Cymru is urging members to help ensure that Wales has a distinctive voice in Europe after the European Parliamentary election in June.

Representatives of the four main parties contesting Welsh seats were quizzed by union leaders and south Wales farmers during a pre-election farm seminar at Bryntail Farm, Pontypridd in Glamorgan.

But NFU Cymru hopes the session was the first of many to be staged across the country involving prospective candidates.

A spokeswoman said that the meetings would allow a two-way exchange of information and ideas. Candidates should be pressed to respond to the contents of union’s election manifesto.

Dai Davies, NFU Cymru president, said the main topics were EID and individual recording of sheep, changes to less-favoured area support, the unsatisfactory EU budget settlement for Wales and the long-term future of the CAP.

“With over 8m sheep on 15,000 holdings, there can be no doubt about the serious consequences which will arise for Welsh sheep farmers unless we obtain greater flexibility in the implementation of EID and individual recording.”

The union wanted Wales to be represented in Europe by politicians who understood the importance of maintaining current LFA boundaries and who supported the principle of compensating farmers for coping with permanent hardships.

“Wales received a less-than-satisfactory 3.5% level of rural development funding in the last EU budgetary negotiations and NFU Cymru will be looking for a reasonable settlement in the next round,” he added.

The union’s manifesto also appealed to prospective candidates to back the idea of making any transition away from the existing historic approach to single farm payments as prolonged as possible.