The Welsh uplands must optimise agricultural productivity if it is to maintain the viability of surrounding businesses according to a report.The recognition is included in the Welsh Government’s Unlocking the Potential of the Uplands Report launched today in Builth Wells."A viable and profitable upland farming industry delivers on a number of wider social, economic and cultural activities – this is in addition to its role in food production and protection and enhancement of the environment and we are pleased that this is a view that has been shared by the forum and published in this new report" said John Owen of NFU Cymru, speaking at the report launch.The report recommended a targeted package of support for upland farming to be delivered through the next Wales Rural Development Plan."We see this as crucial to maintaining the viability of the uplands, to keeping people in the uplands, to ensuring that the traditional skills are kept and maintained and to have the workforce available to carry out the important environmental and landscape work valued by society" said Owen.With delays in agreement on the EU budget impacting on CAP policy decisions, the next RDP programme could not be approved until 2015."This is the first winter that we enter without a dedicated LFA support payment. High feed costs and a depressed lamb market are placing severe pressure on farm businesses."On optimising productions John Owen said, "A key theme running through the report is the need to focus on and embrace new research and developments in animal and plant genetics." "This I welcome and I am delighted that IBERS and Welsh Government are working together on turning Pwllpeiran into an Upland Research Centre of Excellence alongside some other exiting developments. This is good news and we need to make sure that relevant research from here and other research facilities is passed out to the industry as quickly as possible."