Home » News/Views » Welsh farmers up in arms

Welsh farmers up in arms

Sheep near village of Llanllechid, Snowdonia National Park. Photo Gail Johnson/shutterstock.com.

The Welsh government has come up with what it calls a Sustainable Farming Scheme. Driven by the UK government’s net zero myth, this is set to come in from 2025 and states that farms must set aside 10 per cent of land to plant with trees and a further 10 per cent to be treated as wildlife habitat. Only then would farmers be eligible for support payments.

Farmers are not impressed with losing 20 per cent of their land from food production, and protests have been growing. At the Welshpool livestock market in the first week of February more than a thousand met to discuss the proposed changes. Farmers are angry.

Wyn Evans, the meeting chairman said: “Enough is enough. People have had enough that there’s nothing happening in Cardiff Bay [where the Senedd is located]. They’re not listening to farming families; they’re not listening to farming unions.” The Welsh government responded that it is committed to agriculture. Its their own proposals that would cut agricultural land by 20 per cent, but predictably it is blaming the UK government.

Two weeks after the Welshpool meeting an even bigger gathering of 3,000 farmers met at Carmarthen showground to discuss the planned reforms, some carrying a mock coffin with a plaque reading “In memory of Welsh farming”. NFU Cymru president Aled Jones said: “It is clear that the current sustainable farming scheme consultation and the proposals it laid out are causing a deep sense of anguish and concern as members contemplate the future scheme and the implications on their own individual business.”

Rural affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths has now invited the leaders of NFU Cymru and the Farmers Union of Wales to discuss their members’ concerns. The question is, will she really listen and change the scheme? To keep the pressure on her, there was also a protest in Wrexham where farm vehicles along with pick-ups drove to her constituency office. They came from Denbigh, Ruthin, Corwen, Llangollen and Wrexham.

One Welsh farmer said in a video : “All I want to do is continue farming the land that we have done since 1903 and be able to pass that on to future generations. I get we need to change some farming practices. I get that. You always have to change, you always have to evolve. But what the Welsh government are trying to do is just kill us off – just completely wipe us out – just to fill their quotas, to fill their net-zero quotas, to tick a box.”