National Farmers’ Union (NFU) Cymru president, Aled Jones has requested an “urgent” meeting with the new First Minister Vaughan Gething MS, to discuss pressing challenges affecting Welsh farming.

Vaughan Gething MS was formally announced as the new first minister of Wales on Wednesday (March 20).

Jones congratulated Gething on his recent appointment, but proceeded to discuss the importance of Welsh farmers which is the areas largest employer, providing 233,500 jobs.

Jones said the Welsh farmers are very proud to provide the raw ingredients that “underpin” the £8.1 billion food and drink sector.

The president added that the NFU Cymru’s vision is for a “productive, profitable and progressive” farming sector that will produce climate friendly food in an environment that provides habitats for nature to thrive.

He believes that the Welsh food and farming sector can deliver economic, environmental, cultural and social benefits, while meeting their ambition for net zero agriculture by 2040.

Jones said:

“The sector of the economy which I represent is facing some very considerable challenges. 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 financial burden caused by Bovine Tuberculosis (TB).”

“These factors has contributed to a sense of anxiety and turmoil in rural communities, which has manifested itself in the recent farmer rallies and demonstrations,” Jones added.

It is for these reasons Jones stated that he requested an urgent meeting with the new first minister to discuss the issues that the sector is currently facing.

The UFU Cymru president said that he is confident by working together they can secure the future of rural communities, as well as ensuring a secure supply of healthy, affordable food.