“NFU Brussels, BAB (British Agriculture Bureau), is the voice of Welsh and UK farming on a European platform,” said Siân Davies, Brussels European Policy Adviser at a recent Brecon and Radnor county conference.
Whatever your personal politics, there is no denying the importance of the EU when it comes to farming. The NFU has the only office in Brussels which represents, on a daily basis, Welsh and UK farmers. Siân Davies went on to explain the importance of having a voice in Brussels and said, “It is always important to get involved at an early stage of negotiations and to try and influence the decisions taken in Brussels that will impact on farming lives. That’s why the NFU continues to have an office in Brussels giving a voice to Welsh farmers and growers at a time when Europe casts an increasingly wide policy net.
Our office is based at the heart of the EU institutions. The Brussels team of six people is small but effective and deals with a vast array of EU policy issues: from EID to CAP. Our job is to try to get proposed rules and regulations changed before they have to be implemented in Wales and the rest of the UK.”
NFU Cymru President, Stephen James, also addressed the meeting and gave members an update on the recent CAP decisions. He said, “Farmers will be very disappointed with the Minister’s decision to transfer 15% of funds from Pillar 1 (direct payments) to Pillar 2 (Rural Development Plan). However, we now need to make sure farmers are able to recover as much of the Pillar 2 budget as possible. The Minister, Alun Davies, will be launching the RDP consultation on 13 February and I hope this won’t be another disappointment.”
Glasnant Morgan, the retiring Brecon and Radnor county Chairman, closed the conference by thanking Siân for presenting at the conference and also Ed Bailey for all of his hard work for the Union during his four years as President. He went on to congratulate Stephen James and John Davies for being elected as President and Deputy respectively and said, “I’m certain that Stephen and John will do a great job in leading the Union over the next two years, it is especially nice to see one of our own Breconshire farmers forming part of the NFU Cymru Presidential team. I would finally like to thank HSBC Bank for their kind sponsorship of the conference tonight.”