The Farmers' Union of Wales reaffirmed its lifelong mission to safeguard family farms - the "backbone of Welsh rural communities" - during a high profile function at Westminster today (Tuesday March 11).
Addressing the union's annual House of Lords lunch, president Emyr Jones said family farmers were passionate about the food they produce but passion alone cannot sustain their businesses.
In addition to celebrating quality Welsh food, the function is important in the FUW’s continuing campaign to promote Welsh produce. Hosted by Lord Roberts of Llandudno and generously supported by sponsors Hybu Cig Cymru, Welsh Government and E.ON, the guest list included peers, MPs and representatives of key buyers of Welsh produce.
The menu comprised a main course of Welsh lamb - served with a leek, potato and Caerphilly cake, stuffed cabbage and wild garlic - followed by Welsh cake with gooseberry compote and honeyed cream.
Mr Jones told diners his passion for family farms and their survival was one of the reasons he joined the FUW which was established in 1955.
"I believe in the FUW's principles to be an independent union fighting for the farmers of Wales to ensure there's a good future for family farms - the backbone of our rural communities - keeping our young farmers on the land and our towns and villages vibrant."
Referring to "The Sound of Music" film's song about "the hills being alive with the sound of music", Mr Jones, who runs a beef and sheep family farm near Bala, said: "What I want in the hills of Wales is for them to be alive with the sound of farmers and their children going about their day-to-day work.
"I am proud and grateful for having had the opportunity to do a job that I really enjoy which is to look after the land and animals and produce food for our customers to enjoy.
"As farmers we are passionate about the food we produce but passion alone cannot sustain us. We need a fair price for what we produce so that we can invest in our farms and our livestock. If we do not look after the land and our animals they will not look after us.
"Our industry needs the full support of Westminster and our National Assembly in Cardiff so that we can produce more food at a time when the world population is estimated to increase from today's seven billion to nine billion by 2050."
Last Thursday, the FUW's Grand Council unanimously agreed to underline the union's commitment to family farms after Brecon and Radnor delegate Richard Joyce reminded the meeting 2014 had been designated the International Year of Family Farming.
"Wales is a nation of family farms but many farm policy agreements are reached in Europe so it is vital for Welsh agriculture that family farms are at the forefront of all GB discussions," said Mr Joyce, who farms on the Wales-England border at Woodbrook, near Kington.
"The FUW, with the family farm central to its formation and history, should seize the initiative and argue for all family farms, wherever they are in the UK, to be brought to the very top of all EU and UK agricultural agendas and discussions.
"It is why we were formed and we will stand side by side with others who believe the future of agriculture must encompass the family farm as the centre of UK agriculture. The FUW, the union of the family farm, will do its utmost to make this happen - for all our futures."