Farmer with sheep in snow

Farm animal burial rules relaxed

The Welsh Government have announced that laws preventing the burial of dead animals on farms are to be 'relaxed' for the next seven days.

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North Wales farmland damaged by flood water

Many farms in north Wales have been affected by the flooding. Credit: NFU Cymru

Farmers in north Wales are clearing up after the recent bad weather and rising flood waters.

Many farmers have been left with waterlogged fields which could take months to recover.

The damage has also had an impact on the amount of money the farmers can make from the land after significant areas have been affected by flooding and the debris left behind.

Court asked if Assembly has exceeded its powers

A law rushed through the Assembly last month will be challenged in the Supreme Court. The Agriculture Sector (Wales) Bill replaces the system for setting farm workers' pay and conditions in England and Wales, which the UK Government said was no longer needed.

The Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, has asked the Court to decide if the Bill is about agriculture, which is devolved to the Assembly, or employment rights, which are reserved to Westminster. The Welsh Government now cannot send the Bill for Royal Assent until -and unless- it wins in court.

The Agricultural Sector (Wales) Bill was passed by the National Assembly in July. The Bill will encourage new entrants into the agricultural industry and will help the sector to enhance and retain important skills in order to ensure the future prosperity of the sector.

The Attorney General in the UK Government has decided to refer the Agricultural Sector (Wales) Bill to the Supreme Court as he is unconvinced that it is within competence of the National Assembly. The Welsh Government disagrees and we continue to maintain that the Bill is within the legislative competence of the Assembly.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

The Court will make its ruling later this year. The UK Government "intends to seek to continue" the old agricultural wages system in Wales until the Supreme Court decides the matter. The Conservatives, who opposed the Bill, say the Welsh Government has brought the court case upon itself.

The Welsh Labour Government was warned numerous times that they may not have the power to interfere in agricultural wages, so this referral to the Supreme Court is not a surprise. Labour Ministers rushed this bill through the Assembly using the emergency procedure to prevent proper engagement with and scrutiny by Assembly Members, farming unions and the agricultural industry, resulting in sloppy legislation and doubts over competence.

A cynic would think Labour Ministers wanted this Bill to end up in the Supreme Court as most of what they do is motivated by identifying differences between themselves and the UK Government. Labour Ministers should ditch their childish party political motives and start acting like a government by taking measured and considered steps to improve conditions for people in Wales.

– Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs Antoinette Sandbach AM


Your views: more local produce in supermarkets?

Farmer Gareth Wyn Jones made the call via Twitter

We asked you whether you'd support more local produce in stores... and we've had a great response on our Facebook page!

Tosh John says "it's about time... i refuse to buy food that's been flown half way around the world".

Steven Williams thinks it'll be "brilliant for both the farming industry and the economy".

But Karen Anderson says "a local aisle is all well and good , but will we have to pay extra for the privilege?"

Iain Thomas Sullivan isn't so worried. He reckons: "Excellent idea, supporting local producers, boosting local economy and raising awareness to locals and visitors/tourists of what's in the area".

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Farmer wants 'local aisle' in every supermarket

Gareth Wyn Jones rescues sheep in March
Gareth Wyn Jones rescues sheep in March Credit: PA

A farmer from Llanfairfechan has launched a campaign to have a local produce aisle in every supermarket.

Gareth Wyn Jones wants all supermarkets to stock an aisle of homegrown produce to help the local economy and give consumers a choice of what they buy.

Mr Wyn Jones said: "I got the idea a few years ago while in France when all the supermarkets there were stocking local produce. Asda and Tesco have already tweeted me to say they will consider the idea."


Minister to outline cuts to farmers' payments

Farmers in wales will see their Common Agricultural Policy payments reduced or capped. Credit: ITV

Wales' agriculture minister Alun Davies is seeking views on how Common Agricultural Policy payments should be made to farmers in Wales up to the end of the decade.

At a question and answer session at the Royal Welsh Show he will set out his proposals for how the basic payment system should work.

The Minister will propose a five year transition to an area based payment system founded on land categories that recognise the different characteristics and productivity of different land types.

Mr Davies says he will take a robust approach to capping large payments that will go beyond Europe's mandatory requirements and will in addition place a 100% cap on payments over €300,000

Alun Davies said, "I have opposed decisions supported by the UK Government that will see CAP fall by €55 billion across the EU in this round but realistically we all know that the coming reform period to 2020 is probably the first step in a longer term trend of falling public support.

"I cannot stress enough that this coming period of guaranteed support - which no other sort of business enjoys -is one that must be used to prepare for the likelihood of a further reduction in direct payments after 2020."

The consultation will run from 23 July until 15 October. The Minister hopes to make final decisions on these proposals at the end of the year.

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