Farming union requests urgent meeting with Vaughan Gething to discuss challenges to Welsh farming

NFU Cymru President Aled Jones

NFU Cymru President Aled Jones

NFU Cymru has offered its congratulations to Wales’ new First Minister Vaughan Gething MS and has reiterated the union’s commitment to working with the First Minister and his government to offer solutions that benefit farmers, Welsh Government and the people of Wales.

NFU Cymru President Aled Jones has written to Gething to request an urgent meeting to discuss in-person the numerous pressing challenges currently affecting Welsh farming, as well as the opportunity to outline the sector’s ambitions for the future.

Speaking after Gething was formally announced as the new First Minister of Wales today (20 March), the NFU Cymru President said: “I offer my congratulations to Vaughan Gething MS on his appointment as Wales’ new First Minister.

“Wales’ farmers are very proud to provide the raw ingredients that underpin our £8.1 billion food and drink sector, which is also Wales’ largest employer, providing jobs for some 233,500 people. As farmers we are also hugely ambitious to not only produce more food for our own domestic market in Wales and across the UK, but also to see more Welsh food and drink sold around the world.

“NFU Cymru’s vision is for a productive, profitable and progressive farming sector producing world renowned climate friendly food in an environment and landscape that provides habitats for our nature to thrive. We believe that Welsh food and farming can deliver economic, environmental, cultural, and social benefits for all the people of Wales whilst meeting our ambition for net zero agriculture by 2040.”

He continued: “Despite this and the considerable ambition NFU Cymru has for Welsh agriculture, the sector of the economy which I represent is facing some very considerable challenges at the moment. There is frustration and despair around the proposals contained in the Sustainable Farming Scheme consultation, which is in need of a major overhaul, as well as the administrative and cost requirements of complying with Welsh Government regulations around water quality and the emotional impact and financial burden caused by bovine TB. The cumulation of these factors and the emotional and financial stresses which accompanies them has contributed to a sense of anxiety and indeed turmoil in our rural communities, something which has manifested itself in the recent farmer rallies and demonstrations. It is against this backdrop of an industry which is in a state of considerable upheaval, that I have requested an urgent meeting with the new First Minister in order to discuss the issues which the sector is currently facing.

“I am very much of the view that it is only through dialogue and genuine partnership working that we can try and work our way through some of the difficulties farming and government face in order to arrive at solutions which work for farmers, for Welsh Government and for the public. By working together, I am confident that we can deliver what we need in order to secure the future of our rural communities, maintain and uphold our high standards of production, properly recognise the strategic importance of domestic primary production and the manufacturing base it underpins, as well as ensuring a secure supply of healthy, affordable food.”