Friday 2 February 2024

No Farmers, No Food! , Welsh Farmers Protest

NO FARMERS, NO FOOD! Wales is a country of proud farmers and over the past years our government has been steadily working towards our elimination. This situation has now come to a head with the proposed Sustainable Farming Scheme which although is is still in'consultation' mode is being presented to us as a near fait accompli. However, the farmers of Wales have now had enough and we are making a stand against the bullying tactics of the Senedd (the Welsh Government). Two days this week the Farmer I have attended meetings at which the anger and sorrow of the farming community has been made very clear. The first meeting, held locally, was a 'consultation' (that word again) in which we were given a presentation by three civil servants up from Cardiff explaining the new proposals. This is a very complicated issue and I am only able to give a very simplistic account of what is being felt and said.The meeting became very heated and there was lot of anger expressed. One topic that upsets everyone is the proposal that every farm in Wales has to have 10% tree cover. For us at Penyrallt that is not too much of a problem as we have many acres of woodland but for those farmers on the mountains or along the coast it almost impossible to grow trees to the required 3metres in height. The proposals seem to have been drawn up with 'one size fits all' attitude and just underlines how removed from the reality of the agriculture industry the government is. No account seems to have taken of the topography of Wales which ranges from lush fertile lowlands to steep harsh mountain & moorland to windswept coastline. The idea that every single farm in the country has to grow trees while taking 10% of the land out of food production is lunatic. I spoke to one farmer from Pembrokeshire who farms right on the coast and he was deeply worried about this as it is impossible for him to grow trees on his land and the effect of this inability would seriously impact his livlihood. The feeling in the room became increasingly angry and the frustration was palpable when it was clear that the civil servants were not actually listening to us though they assured us that they would report our views back to the minister in Cardiff. No notes were taken by them throughout the meeting. A number of attendees walked out in disgust. It seems this same scenario has been played out all over Wales at other 'consultation' meetings. As result a meeting was held last night up in mid-Wales by farmers to discuss what action we need to take to make the government listen. The Farmer & I made the near 3 hour drive up to Welshpool yesterday afternoon and joined the 1,100+ strong crowd to hear what had to be said. It was an amazing evening with so many farmers and non-farmer supporters gathered together. It was emotional at times as farmers expressed their fears that there will be no future for their families on the land (in many cases, as with us, it is many generations of farming expertise and knowledge under threat) and it was encouraging that there were so many young people at the meeting, many in their twenties & thirties who are passionate about their roles in agriculture. There was also much anger that our elected representatives have become so dictatorial and out of touch with the people who put them in a position of trust and repsonsibility under the illusion that they were concerned for the agricultural communities of Wales. There is to be another meeting in few days time nearer home which we shall go to and hopefully the Sons will accomapany us. An action plan is being drawn up and we shall do whatever is required. Much is said about how food can be imported therefore the need to have farmers in Wales is can supposedly sensible, intelligent people even think that this is a realistic approach to feeding a nation? Buy Local is mantra that needs to be emphasised everywhere and as a leading Welsh farmer, Gareth Wyn Jones says 'You need a farmer three times a day!' >Dim Ffermwyr, Dim Bwyd! No Farmers, No Food!

1 comment:

  1. I can’t imagine the frustration and anger – I often wonder if the people trying to make these rules and pass new laws have ever actually farmed and do they have any idea what it takes - yet they’re happy to try and impose conditions I recently saw a sign that said, “If you ate today, thank a farmer”. Wishing you the best of luck – my thoughts are certainly with you, and all of those who are showing up at meetings to express their concerns – I pray it makes a difference.