Welsh government urged to do more to help farmers hit by poor weather

Records show that Wales has experienced the second wettest eight-month period in 100 years
Records show that Wales has experienced the second wettest eight-month period in 100 years

NFU Cymru has raised a series of asks to the Welsh government to assist farmers hamstrung by the ongoing poor weather and ground conditions.

Many areas of Wales have received around 200% of the rainfall they would expect against long-term weather averages.

Records also show that Wales has experienced the second wettest eight-month period in 100 years.

NFU Cymru said this had caused significant disruption to farming businesses, with crops unable to be sown as well as difficulties with lambing and calving.

The union said this had all added a huge cost burden on farmers, with some having to buy in additional feed and straw while their stock is housed for extended – and in many cases unforeseen – periods.

The persistent wet weather again highlighted the need for Welsh government to recognise the importance of a future policy that "provides stability to farm businesses to safeguard domestic food production at times of volatility".

The union has put several key asks forward to Welsh government to seek help in supporting farmers through the current crisis.

In the short-term, it said Welsh government must show flexibility in the delivery of various scheme requirements, including cross compliance for BPS and other rural investment schemes.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) must also work with farmers and adopt a 'sensible approach' to regulation that demonstrated flexibility and understanding of the on-the-ground conditions.

And in order to build longer-term resilience, NFU Cymru said there was a need for government to bring forward the £20m committed to support farmer compliance with the Control of Agricultural Pollution Regulations 'without delay'.

Responding to the asks, NFU Cymru president Aled Jones said farmers in all sectors were finding the incessant wet weather extremely challenging.

He said: "Livestock businesses are seeing increased expenditure on forage due to having to keep stock housed far longer than they normally would and the conditions are less than ideal for those businesses who have been lambing.

"With autumn planting impossible on many farms, arable businesses are increasingly concerned that they will not be able get any spring crops planted due to no improvement in the weather and ground conditions."

Mr Jones added: “This is an awful lot for farmers to contend with and we are very concerned about the mental toll this is taking on our farmers.

“We ask Welsh government, working with its regulator NRW, to do all it can to assist Welsh farmers at an extremely difficult time."

Farmers in need of support can make use of the services offered by Wales' farming charities.