Conservative Shadow Minister Antoinette Sandbach AM in AbergavennyDevelopments in CAP reform, the food chain and animal health were hot topics of discussion when NFU Cymru met with Conservative Shadow Minister Antoinette Sandbach AM in Abergavenny recently.
Discussions on Schmallenberg, sheep scab and bovine TB were also highlighted as key challenges facing farmers on a daily basis.
Speaking after the meeting, Monmouthshire NFU Cymru County Chairman, Nigel Bowyer said, "I am pleased to have had the opportunity to meet with Antoinette and to raise a number of issues of concern with her.
"There have been further developments in CAP reform recently as the whole European Parliament voted on the current proposals and NFU Cymru have emphasised the need to ensure that productive agriculture remains at the heart of any future Common Agricultural Policy.
"Another important issue for Wales is how we move away from our historic basis of payment to a flat rate model, and I am pleased that there is recognition amongst the European Institutions that it will take time for businesses to adapt to the new area based system.”
Following on from the CAP discussion, the issue of the food supply chain was brought to Antoinette’s attention.
Bowyer said, "The recent horsemeat scandal shows what can happen when the supply chain is allowed to become too long and too complex. Farmers are rightly very angry about what has been allowed to happen.
"We hope that the Union’s recent advertising campaign, the concurrent HCC campaign which is encouraging all shoppers to ‘look for the logos’ and also the Red Tractor logo on fresh meat, will help consumers to make an informed choice.”
Animal health challenges facing farmers were also discussed with the issues of Schmallenberg, sheep scab and bovine TB raised with Antoinette.
Responding to the recent Welsh Government re-shuffle Mr Bowyer said, "I’m pleased that agriculture has been promoted back to Cabinet level and makes sense that animal health and welfare will now sit alongside agriculture in the portfolio of the new Minister for Food and Natural Resources, Alun Davies.
Recent figures show that over 9,300 cows were culled in Wales as a result of bovine TB in 2012, an increase of 15% on 2011.
"There can be no doubting the need for bold decision making and the exploration of all options when it comes to getting to grips with this terrible disease."
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