Royal Welsh: FUW sets out 2019 show agenda
Some of Welsh farming’s most important topics are set to come under the spotlight as the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) ramps up for this year’s Royal Welsh Show.
Those visiting the 100th Royal Welsh Agricultural Show can look forward to a series of seminars and discussion groups covering topics such as mental health in rural communities, rewilding and conservation, and future farming policies.
The union’s show offering will kick-start with a seminar on mental health with a specific focus on how bovine TB is impacting farmers across Wales.
Entitled ‘What impacts do TB breakdowns have on mental health?’, the FUW looks forward to welcoming Ceredigion MP Ben Lake, Gareth Davies from farming charity Tir Dewi, Emma Picton-Jones from rural charity the DPJ Foundation, Charles Smith from farming charity Farm Community Network and Linda Jones from the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institute to the discussion panel.
The seminar starts at 11:00am on Monday (July 22) and is chaired by senior policy officer Dr. Hazel Wright.
Speaking ahead of the seminar, Dr. Wright said: “The FUW has recently called on the Welsh Government to establish a Wales Bovine TB Economics Task and Finish Group to provide robust, Welsh specific information on the financial impact of a TB breakdown and the subsequent mental health impacts on farmers.
In this seminar, we aim to discuss the relationship between mental health issues and the emotional and economic pressures put on farmers following a TB outbreak and whether our industry is receiving enough support.
On Tuesday (July 23) at 11am, the focus will turn to rewilding and conversation.
Hosting a special seminar, chaired by BBC Radio 4 Farming Today reporter Mariclare Carey-Jones, entitled ‘Rewilding and conservation: Poles apart or two sides of the same coin‘, the union looks forward to welcoming Gareth Davies of Coed Cymru, Ponterwyd farmer Dafydd Morris-Jones and Bangor University Human Geography lecturer Dr. Sophie Wynne-Jones to the panel of speakers.
Speaking ahead of the seminar, FUW head of policy Dr. Nick Fenwick said: “In 2018 Rewilding Britain launched its flagship ‘Summit to Sea’ rewilding project focussed on 240 square miles of Mid Wales, raising many concerns among residents, conservationists and farmers.
“Some argue that rewilding is the creation of ecosystems where human influences and control over vast areas of land are removed, and species such as large predators create self-regulating environments devoid of human interactions.
“Others argue that rewilding is merely a new and exciting approach to conservation.
The seminar will explore whether farmers and their livestock are keystone species in ecosystems or a hindrance to conservation, and whether conservation and rewilding are two sides of the same coin, or competing policies which are poles apart.
On Wednesday (July 24) at 2:30pm, the FUW is looking forward to discuss the future of farming policies in Wales in a special ‘Brexit and Our Land – Next Steps’ seminar with Welsh Conservative shadow agriculture Minister Andrew RT Davies AM, Plaid Cymru shadow agriculture Minister Llyr Gruffydd AM, and FUW head of policy Dr. Nick Fenwick.
FUW managing director Alan Davies, who is chairing the seminar, said: “Following on from last years Welsh Government’s Brexit and Our Land consultation, and their launch earlier this month of the Sustainable Farming and our Land consultation, this seminar will discuss the next steps of the consultation process and how we can achieve a new system that works for Welsh farmers in the long term. I hope many of you can join us for this important discussion.”
FUW President Glyn Roberts added: “Not least amongst these issues will be the collapse in beef prices caused by cheap imports and stockpiling ahead of the original Brexit date, and the threat of a hard Brexit for our industry – in particular, the sheep industry.”
Roberts said he was looking forward to joining the Royal Welsh Agricultural in celebrating its centenary: “The FUW has had an official presence at the show for more than 60 years, and we wish the society all the very best for its 100th show.
“A warm welcome is guaranteed for all who visit our pavilion, and I hope many of you will also join our speakers and staff at the seminars during which we will discuss some of the most important issues facing our industry.”