The two major Welsh farming unions met with Prime Minister Theresa May on the last day of the 2018 Royal Welsh Agricultural Show.

The meetings at Llanelwedd Showground also coincided with the Prime Minister’s announcement that the UK will maintain environmental protections, safeguard animal welfare and support the production of high-quality food.

Farmers Union Wales told the May an Article 50 period extension must be sought if a hard Brexit starts to become a real likelihood.

Speaking after a meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May on the Royal Welsh showground, FUW president Glyn Roberts said: “The consequences of a hard Brexit would be so extreme for our industries, including farming, and for the economy of the country as a whole that it should not be allowed to happen.

I made it clear to the Prime Minister that seeking an extension to the Article 50 period which allows more time to negotiate a common-sense agreement with the EU has to be a priority if a hard Brexit starts to become a real likelihood.

Roberts said that losing access to the EU market would be "particularly devastating" for the Welsh farming industry, but would also cause huge damage to the UK economy.

“The two-year Article 50 period triggered by Theresa May in March 2017 can be extended with the agreement of the EU, and it would be completely reckless to risk the cataclysmic damage of a hard Brexit in April 2019 rather than trying to get more time to reach a deal.

“The thousands of businesses present on the Royal Welsh showground are a microcosm of our rural economy which employs hundreds of thousands of people across Wales alone.

“A hard Brexit risks causing collapse on a monumental scale, and we must fight to stop that from happening.”

'Deliver a prosperous future for Welsh farming'

Meanwhile, National Farmers' Union (NFU) Cymru president John Davies urged Prime Minister Theresa May to secure a Brexit deal that delivers a prosperous future for Welsh farmers.

NFU Cymru President John Davies said: "We welcome the opportunity to meet with the Prime Minister.

I stressed the importance of UK Government securing conditions that enable the Welsh agricultural sector to have a productive, profitable and progressive future that values food production and delivers for the environment.

“I also took the opportunity to thank the Prime Minister for the engagement she has had with the farming industry in recent months.

“During our conversation, I told the Prime Minister that NFU Cymru was encouraged by the main principles of the recent Chequers agreement and we are particularly pleased by the practical and pragmatic approach she has adopted with these plans.

"I made it clear to the Prime Minister that now was the time for the Government to show leadership; they must not waiver or be deflected from the aim of delivering the best possible deal with the EU27 and other markets.”