While current milk prices are giving dairy farmers gathering at the Carmarthen event some reprieve from the impact of rising input costs, many farmers remain concerned about the policy proposals put forward by the Welsh government’s Sustainable Farming Scheme.
Dairy farmers have indicated to NFU Cymru that the current plans – particularly around tree planting – will inhibit their productive capacity and therefore they feel it is unlikely they will be able to join the new support scheme unless these plans are adapted.
NFU Cymru president Aled Jones said: “Welsh dairy farming generates significant employment and income to the Welsh economy.
“More than 5,000 people are directly employed on Welsh farms and with 50% of milk produced in Wales being processed in Wales, the sector supports significant employment in the processing sector, as well.
“The UK’s departure from the European Union has brought about the unique opportunity to develop new agricultural policy here in Wales for the first time.
“These changes provide the chance for Welsh Ministers to craft legislation that is going to help Welsh food and farming continue to grow and achieve its ambitions, alongside delivering for the environment and the people and communities of Wales.
Jones said that dairy farmers are telling NFU Cymru that the current proposals make the Sustainable Farming Scheme inhibitive to them.
“Many feel that joining the scheme will see them have to sacrifice productive land to tree planting and this will hinder their ability to supply growing markets, both at home and abroad.
“Of course, Welsh farmers recognise that they have a role to play in combatting the effects of climate change.
“Looking specifically at the Welsh dairy industry, our farmers are optimising the use of genetics, improving nutrition and enhancing animal health, all of which leads to more efficient cows and means our milk has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the world.”