The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) is looking forward to exploring and discussing the most important issues facing the farming industry at the Royal Welsh Show 2018.

During the four-day show, the organisation will host a packed programme of seminars and discussion groups on the topics of rural crime, Brexit, mental health, innovation and diversification, as well as mobile communication.

Monday

Kick-starting the show with a rural crime seminar on Monday, July 23 at 11:00am, the FUW is looking forward to a discussion with:

  • Alun Davies AM, Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services;
  • Simon Hart MP, former chief executive of Countryside Alliance and member of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee;
  • Tim Jones of Natural Resources Wales, Executive Director for Operations North and Mid Wales; and
  • Rob Taylor of North Wales Police and Team Manager of the Rural Crime Prevention Team on matters of wildlife crime and rural affairs in Wales.

The forum will also present an opportunity to discuss modern slavery in rural communities, which is to be led by an input from Gwent Police.

The afternoon will see conversations turn to the topic that is going to change the face of agriculture forever, as the FUW holds its ‘Brexit: What does the future hold for agriculture?’ seminar at 2:00pm.

The event promises to be a thought-stimulating seminar with keynote speakers including FUW head of policy Dr. Nick Fenwick and Dr. Jo Hunt, reader in Law at Cardiff University School of Law and Politics.

Chairing the seminar is Sara Jones, whose background is deeply rooted within the farming community. Her father is an arable farmer in Monmouthshire and her partner and his family run a busy sheep and beef farm in Usk.

The evening's social event starts at 6:30pm with tickets for available for purchase from FUW offices.

Tuesday

Tuesday is all about communication and innovation at the FUW pavillion. Starting at 11:00am, in partnership with OfCom Wales, the union will host a discussion on improving rural mobile coverage.

Visitors to the stand can expect to hear from each of the major mobile network operators and Huw Saunders, Ofcom’s director of infrastructure.

From 2:00pm, focus will shift on to how farmers can embrace innovation in many different ways, and stay ahead of their competitors as Brexit looms.

Those attending the seminar can look forward to hearing from Geraint Hughes, who leads on business and innovation in the Farming Connect’s Agri-Academy scheme.

The forum includes Welsh farmers looking at technologies such as Genomics, Smart farming, Virtual reality, Social Media and Vertical farming.

Hughes also operates as a broker for the European Innovation Partnership programme that aims to bridge academia and industry by conducting field trials of new technologies in a commercial environment.

Karina Marsden who is a postdoctoral researcher in the Ecosystems and Environment group at the Environment Centre Wales, at Bangor University will talk about her research into soil nitrogen cycling in livestock production systems.

Her talk will have a particular focus on emissions of the greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide, from agricultural soils.

Shiv Kodam of Hoofprints Technologies, will conclude the line up talking about the latest developments of a range of sensors to help farmers remotely monitor livestock in extensive systems.

Wednesday

On Wednesday, those coming to the FUW pavilion can look forward to a seminar on diversification, which will start at 11:00am.

The diverse range of speakers will explore how farmers can add another string to their bow and create an extra income stream for their farm business.

In the afternoon, things will take a different turn as the FUW will host an exciting seminar that will look at what "being authentic" really means - overcoming self-doubt and having the courage to develop a business that reflects who you are.

Delivered by Helen Howells of Hwylus, the ‘Authentic Leadership & How Being You Is Enough’ seminar will start at 2:00pm.

Thursday

The final day of the show is dedicated to mental health at the FUW pavilion.

The union looks forward to hearing from Alzheimer’s Society Cymru, The Farming Community Network and DPJ Foundation, exploring the wider issues surrounding mental health in rural areas. The event will start at 11:00am.

The discussions are chaired by Lilwen Joynson, Agrisgop leader.

She said: “I appreciate that for many farmers, rural businesses and families having a chat about being stressed out and what to do and where to go for help, sits below the to-do list of a busy rural enterprise.

"If we don't talk we don't support and we end up with problems and an industry that isn't facing up to the reality of how mental health affects us all."

The seminars and discussion groups hosted at the FUW Pavilion are free and open to all.