TMMF Ltd
Farminguk
25 August 2016 | Online since 2003
Briefing Media - FG Classified


16 November 2012 15:41:03 |News,Property News,Shows and Events

FUW conference addresses 'uncertain' farming future


ANY QUESTIONS: FUW president Emyr Jones (second from right) chairs the question and answer panel of speakers (from left) James Severn, Duncan Montgomery, Stuart Agnew and Prof Chris Pollock.

ANY QUESTIONS: FUW president Emyr Jones (second from right) chairs the question and answer panel of speakers (from left) James Severn, Duncan Montgomery, Stuart Agnew and Prof Chris Pollock.

The uncertain future for farming was compared with the unpredictability of the weather at the Farmers’ Union of Wales’ annual conference held at Aberystwyth yesterday.
Setting the scene, FUW president Emyr Jones told delegates: "Our reliance on the weather, and its unpredictability, makes some of us pessimistic, even negligent, about planning for the future.
"If we don’t know whether we can cut hay, spread fertiliser, or drill seeds for days - sometimes hours - before the event, how can we contemplate the next decade?
YOUNG ENTRANTS: Agriculture students (second row from left) from Gelli Aur College, near Llandeilo, in the conference audience.

YOUNG ENTRANTS: Agriculture students (second row from left) from Gelli Aur College, near Llandeilo, in the conference audience.

"At the moment, we have no certainty about the future shape of EU agricultural policy, despite the fact that changes to the policy will have a huge impact on our businesses and that is a very worrying factor for every farmer in Wales.
"If we are to run our businesses effectively, we have to face the future with open eyes. We have to change the ways in which we operate in order to prepare for the future - however uncertain that future is."
"We can be certain there will be more people to feed, and less land on which to produce food to feed them, and we will rely on scientists and policymakers, whether in the UK or Europe, to help agriculture meet those growing needs."
The conference then heard the thoughts of four speakers on how the industry might address these issues.
Aberystwyth University honorary professor Chris Pollock, former chief scientific officer to the First Minister in Wales and chair of the Advisory Committee on Releases into the Environment, dealt with bovine TB and GM crops.
He said bTB is serious, spreading and difficult to manage. "It is spread within herds, via cattle movements and via a third party - badgers. All three elements need to be addressed to solve the problem. You can't pick and choose which one.
"Better testing, rapid removal of reactors and enforced movement controls address the first two elements and - to its eternal credit - the farming industry did this with relatively little criticism."
Referring to the current Welsh Government's bTB policy, Prof Pollock said in areas of high disease incidence vaccination will not prevent infected badgers from infecting cattle.
"Under the previous administration, where localised culling was to be implemented as a pilot, it could be argued that Welsh policy development, implementation and monitoring were strongly evidence-based and dealt as effectively as possible with uncertainty.
"In my opinion, the uncertainties surrounding culling were not sufficient evidence to move to a less effective but politically more acceptable alternative and that is why I fell out with the current administration."
On GM crops, Prof Pollock said there was no scientific evidence that the technology is inherently unsafe and they had a 20-year history of safe use worldwide.
"Faced with the same evidence, Scotland and Wales have chosen - for political reasons - to oppose all GM cultivation although not importation. To its credit the Whitehall administration has consistently voted with the evidence and supported release.
"Is it any wonder that many of us think that evidence-based policy making will generally lose out to policy-based evidence-making?"
James Severn, director of farm business consultants Andersons Northern (England) Ltd, spoke about joint farming ventures and the benefits of working together to become more profitable, sustainable, efficient and competitive.
He outlined four typical "Share to Farm" projects which his firm had been involved with and explained that volatility within the industry was a very real concern and a huge issue facing farmers.
"Output prices and input costs pose a very significant challenge to farming businesses. But working together can offer huge benefits," he added.
East of England UKIP MEP, Norfolk farmer Stuart Agnew, a member of the European Parliament's agriculture and rural development committee, revealed he is often a lone voice speaking up for British farmers and trying to make the committee understand the practical effects of their proposals on farmers in the real world.
He backed many of Prof Pollock's views on GM crops and claimed opposition to them was "fuelled by a hatred of capitalism".
Shrewsbury-based taxation expert Duncan Montgomery, of chartered accountants Whittingham Riddell, delivered a wide-ranging perspective on measures to overcome the barriers to succession for young entrants to farming.

Download

0 Comment

loginuserlogo
Name

Please enter your name


Email

Please enter your email

Please enter valid email


Comment

Please enter your comment


Post Comment

Your comment has been submitted successfully. Please wait for admin approval.


Comments

No comments posted yet. Be the first to post a comment


Ireland | 25 August 2016
EU worry at lack of GM food testing in Ireland

Inspectors from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Food Safety said the lack of laboratory capacity at the Public Analyst’s Laboratory (PAL), which is located in St Finbarr’s...


France | 25 August 2016
French farmers may face more pain as dry weather hits crops

French farmers can’t seem to catch a break from the weather. After deluges earlier this year decimated wheat crops, now not enough rain is threatening their corn. Many fields in the European Union’...


France | 25 August 2016
French farmers protest over low milk prices outside major milk processor

Some 400 French dairy farmers have blockaded the roads around Lactalis, the milk processor based in Laval, France, this week in protest against low milk prices. The farmers have taken over the roun...


USA | 25 August 2016
The next agriculture revolution is under our feet

At the core of agriculture is innovation. Advancements in agricultural technology throughout the past century have allowed farmers to feed a population that has grown from less than 2 billion people t...


Australia | 25 August 2016
Dairy industry goes under spotlight as Barnaby Joyce signals end to $1 milk

Scott Morrison has asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to investigate the national dairy industry as the agriculture minister, Barnaby Joyce, emerged from a dairy crisis meeting d...



Trending Now

Viewed
Discussed


Top stories you may have missed
FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

The British public are overwhelmingly in favour of keeping or strengthening...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

The sustained recovery of pig prices since the spring has come at a time wh...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

A World Trade Organisation (WTO) panel has declared the Russian import ban ...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

A new study has linked oilseed rape crops grown from neonicotinoid-treated ...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

Philip Hammond is to guarantee billions of pounds of UK government investme...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

Access to the foreign labour market is 'critical', according the chief exec...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

The Tenant Farmers Association has said the National Trust's vision for a p...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

Ulster farmers will 'not lie down and wave the white flag' when Brexit nego...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

The cost of rural crime to the UK economy costs £42.5 million a year, accor...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

A young farmers club member from Oxfordshire has created a petition on the ...


closeicon
Username
Password