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News from AgriWales - A blog about everything and anything that's happening

Defra has confirmed BPS entitlements and greening rates for 2018, after the exchange rate was set.

Both entitlements and greening rates will rise for non-severely disadvantaged areas (SDA) and upland SDA, other than moorland. Payments will start landing in farmers’ bank accounts from Monday December 3.

Drone Laws

There are height limits in place to ensure that drones are used safely.  Drones are restricted from flying above 400 feet (122 metres) and within 1 kilometre of airport boundaries.  Also, owners of drones weighing 250 grams or more are required to register with the Civil Aviation Authority with drone pilots having to take an online safety test.  These requirements come into force on 30th November 2019.  If drone users flout the new height and airport boundary restrictions, they could be charged with recklessly or negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft or any person in an aircraft which could result in an unlimited fine, up to 5 years in prison or both.  Failure to register or sit the competency tests could result in users being fined up to £1,000.00.

For the full newsletter see: www.mjjsolicitors.co.uk/latest/?utm_source=Contacts&utm_campaign=5344cbb0d1-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_10_30_10_38&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_01a3a258ae-5344cbb0d1-86019469 

Total sales of antibiotics for use in animals in the UK have fallen to their lowest level since 1993, according to Defra’s Veterinary Medicines Directorate.

The Veterinary Antimicrobial Resistance Sales and Surveillance (VARSS) report shows that sales of antibiotics for use in food-producing animals dropped by 18% between 2016 and 2017 to reach a low of 37 mg/kg. Sales have also dropped by 40% between 2013 and 2017.

For the first time, the annual report presents data on the use of antibiotics in beef, trout and salmon in addition to usage in the poultry, pig, dairy, gamebird and egg-laying hen industries.

For more see: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/sales-of-veterinary-antibiotics-at-their-lowest-in-25-years?utm_source=fe99a90c-6fe8-4f3f-b6d3-1c2493659e20&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate 

Reform of existing tax measures could be on the horizon for owners of land approved for development.

A report published in September 2018 by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee suggested that the significant increase in the value of agricultural land when planning permission is granted for residential use should be reflected in more robust taxation. Land worth only thousands on the agricultural market can realise millions when approved for housing.

The Committee highlighted the fact that landowners had the potential to make multi-millions in profits when their land is sold on for major development. Given that this is only made possible by the granting of planning permission by public bodies, it would, they believe, be appropriate for a proportion of the uplift to be reinvested in public services and shared with local communities. This could most effectively be achieved by changes to the current taxation regime, with the resulting increase in public revenue allowing local authorities to make a greater financial contribution to community projects for the benefit of all residents.

Wales’ two farming unions have launched a joint principles paper aimed at placing Welsh food, farming, livelihoods, communities and our environment on a firm post-Brexit footing.

The paper, entitled ‘A Welsh way forward’, was revealed by Farmers’ Union of Wales President Glyn Roberts and NFU Cymru President John Davies at a briefing session for Assembly Members and Welsh Government staff on Wednesday, October 24, at the Pierhead Building in Cardiff. The event was kindly sponsored by Paul Davies AM.

 

The publication comes in response to the Welsh Government’s current consultation on future rural and land management policies – entitled ‘Brexit and our land’.

 

Since the consultation was launched, both Unions have held meetings throughout Wales, engaging with thousands of farming businesses, as well as those from a wide range of allied industries such as agricultural merchants and contractors, auctioneers, vets, processors, accountants and financial advisers.

 

Based on their respective consultation engagement programmes, the Unions have gained an unrivalled mandate to speak on behalf of rural Wales.

Roger Parry & Partners are encouraging Welsh farmers to apply for the new loan facility which has been set up by the Welsh Government to help farmers who may not receive their Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) 2018 payment when the payment window opens on Saturday, 1 December 2018.

The BPS Loan application is available for BPS customers whose claim will not be fully processed by the opening of the BPS payment window (1 December).  If you have submitted an application for BPS 2018 via the Single Application Form (SAF) 2018 then Roger Parry and Partners is encouraging you to consider applying for a loan. 

Richard Corbett, Partner with Roger Parry & Partners said, “We are totally aware of how challenging it has been to farm in the weather conditions thrust upon us this year. The Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, set up this loan scheme to offer extra support for the farming industry following the exceptionally hot and dry weather during the summer – that was before the recent floods! We want to make farmers aware that this is an opt in scheme which means you MUST apply for a loan by 30 November 2018 if you wish to receive a loan payment in the event your BPS 2018 claim has not been fully processed. There will be no further opportunity to apply for a BPS loan after the 30 November.”

Published 9 October 18

As of July 2018, the GB milking herd is down 23,000 head (1.3%) on the year according to BCMS data. The herd has shrunk by 3.4% since the beginning of 2016, initially as a result of the extended period of negative margins following the crash in the dairy markets in 2015.

Virtually all of the reduction in the herd occurred within the 4-6 years age category, which fell 4.1% to a 5-year low of 518 thousand head.

OCTOBER 2018 - LEGAL UPDATE

Employment

Holiday Pay for Overtime

The current legal position in respect of holiday pay calculations in respect of overtime is as follows:

  • Compulsory non-guaranteed overtime – this should always be included in holiday pay calculations.
  • Guaranteed overtime – should always be included
  • Voluntary overtime – if such overtime is sufficiently regular or re-occurring so that it qualifies as “normal”, it should be included.  As there is no definition for what is “normal”, it becomes a matter of fact and degree.  It is possible that voluntary overtime worked every 4 or 5 weeks could be seen as “normal”.

Apprenticeship

There are two types of apprenticeship:

New Red Meat Benchmarking Project Offers Cash for Farmers

by Green & Co Farming Accountants and Tax Advisors

Farmers in Wales are being offered £1,000 to help with the Welsh Government’s new Red Meat Benchmarking project, aimed at helping them assess and improve the performance of their businesses.

The project, managed by Hybu Cig Cymru, will require 2,000 farmers to complete an on-line questionnaire giving information about their business activities for either 2016/2017 or 2017/2018. In return they will receive a bespoke assessment of how they are performing, an anonymous comparison with similar businesses, and a £1,000 payment for their “time and effort”.

Roger Parry & Partners are delighted to announce the successful expansion of its business into mid Wales with the opening of a new office in Llanidloes on 10 October 2018. 

The team in the new Llanidloes office, situated on Great Oak Street, will offer the full range of Roger Parry & Partners services. These include estate and letting agents, land agents, chartered surveyors, planning consultants, rural payments and funding expertise.

Clare Williams, who has lived just outside Llanidloes her entire life, and recently married a local farmer, will run the new office. Clare has worked for Roger Parry & Partners, in the Welshpool office, since 2010 and was recently made an Associate of the company. Working with Clare in the new office will be Gail Lewis, who has also recently got married and become Gail Jenkins. Gail, a planning consultant for Roger Parry & Partners, is based in Carmarthenshire and will divide her time between her office near Llandovery and the new office in Llanidloes.

Roger Parry, Senior Partner, said, “We are delighted to announce this expansion of our business deeper into the heart of Wales. We already have a large client base in the area and the new office gives us a great

Proposed regulations will enable Welsh Government to introduce new post-Brexit farming regime

Welsh ministers are set to be given “significant” new powers in the Agriculture Bill to influence the country’s farming sector.

These powers will be used until a bespoke Wales Agriculture Bill is introduced to the National Assembly, probably before the end of the current Assembly term in 2021.

Initially, the new set of powers outlined in the Agriculture Bill – to be introduced into Parliament today – will closely mirror those intended for England.

However, at the cabinet secretary’s request, Wales-specific powers also include an emphasis on supporting rural communities as well as businesses involved in supply chains.

NFU Cymru President John Davies said: “The launch of the Agriculture Bill today underlines UK Government’s thinking around the future of farming within England and I have no doubt that our colleagues across the border will be hugely disappointed at the lack of focus and recognition within this important document of farmers as, first and foremost, food producers.

“Agricultural policy is a devolved subject in Wales and today’s release of the Agriculture Bill provides powers for Welsh Government Ministers to follow their own reforms, which of course are the subject of the current ‘Brexit and Our Land’ consultation.

The National Sheep Association (NSA) fears the proposed new Agriculture Bill, introduced into Parliament today (Wednesday 12th September), does not go far enough to recognise the breadth or depth of public goods already being delivered by sheep farmers throughout the UK.
 
The association welcomes the seven-year transition period, but says the period spent evolving to a new system must take the agricultural industry in the right direction.
 
Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, says: “Having a transition period is one thing, but we need confidence we are transitioning to something that is workable and viable. NSA welcomes the concept of farmers being paid for the public goods they provide, but such an approach must recognise what is already being done for animal health and welfare, soil, air and water quality, countryside management and public access – and, absolutely vitally, food production.

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has described DEFRA’s Agriculture Bill, introduced to Parliament today, as a ‘leap into the economic and legal unknown’ given current uncertainty around Brexit and World Trade Organisation rules.

In what they describe as a ‘landmark agricultural bill’, DEFRA sets out a legal framework to phase out direct support for farming over a seven year period to 2027 while introducing a system of paying landowners for “public goods”.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “This has never been tried before anywhere in the world so we have no idea about the economic impact of such a scheme, and there are also big questions about its legality under the WTO rules.

Michael Gove sets out major post-Brexit policy to invest in the environment and take back control for farmers after almost 50 years under EU rules

Legislation to deliver a cleaner and healthier environment for future generations after nearly half a century under EU rules is being introduced into Parliament today (12 September).

The Agriculture Bill sets out how farmers and land managers will in future be paid for “public goods”, such as better air and water quality, improved soil health, higher animal welfare standards, public access to the countryside and measures to reduce flooding.

This will replace the current subsidy system of Direct Payments, which is ineffective and pays farmers based on the total amount of land farmed. These payments are skewed towards the largest landowners and are not linked to any specific public benefits. The top 10% of recipients currently receive almost 50% of total payments, while the bottom 20% receive just 2%.

A new system aimed at improving traceability in the livestock sector could be rolled out for cattle by the end of next year and in sheep, goats and pigs in 2020.

The Livestock Information Service (LIS), which will eventually replace current movement reporting systems such as the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS), will see all livestock data held centrally.

As well as giving farmers and processors accurate, real-time information about animals and their movements using electronic identification (EID) technology, it will also mean the industry and Government are better placed to respond in the event of a disease outbreak.

Funded by Defra with support from AHDB, the system is unique because it is has been developed by industry.

The 70% Welsh Government loans will only be available to a small minority - and not until December

Welsh Government plans to introduce emergency weather loans for farmers have been slammed as “wholly inadequate” and “out of touch” with the looming forage crisis.

Unlike Scotland’s loan scheme, which will offer all farmers 90% loans from early October, the Welsh version will pay 70% loans from December – and only to the 10% of farmers who do not receive their 2018 BPS cheque on time.

However Cardiff has said donate £500,000 to farming charities to help families hardest hit by this year’s drought.

The FUW fears Welsh farmers will miss out on scarce stocks of fodder with counterparts in Ireland and other parts of the UK and EU set to receive early loans and payments

The union suspects some countries may even stockpile winter forage, leaving Welsh farmers powerless to respond.

NSA has attended a community meeting in the Kielder Forest organised by local residents and farmers in response to recent misleading claims in the press by the Lynx UK Trust, suggesting it has obtained permission from all relevant landowners for the release of lynx. The community in Kielder and surrounding areas has come together to form a united group to refute this claim. There was strong representation from the affected communities, including from residents, community groups, farmers, landowners and other business interests. The group has issued the following statement.

We utterly deplore the attempt by Lynx Trust UK to misinform the public through the press. In the light of this proven unreliability, we are calling on Natural England to thoroughly test all claims made within the licensing application by the Lynx UK Trust.

Livestock representatives from the Ulster Farmers’ Union, NFU Scotland and NFU Cymru say the prospect of the UK leaving the EU next March with no trade deal in place is worrying and would have serious implications for the UK’s beef and sheep sectors.

The comments were made following a recent meeting in Belfast. Discussions focused on the possibility of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit outcome and the UK’s future agricultural policy.

UFU beef and lamb chairman, Sam Chesney, said, “We recognise that negotiating the UK’s exit from the EU is no easy task, however, March 2019 is fast approaching. The Government must ensure that there are measures in place to allow tariff free and frictionless access to export markets in the EU. This is vital to survival of the livestock sector in Northern Ireland. A ‘no deal’ outcome is very risky – we would face up to 60 per cent tariffs on exports and  could result in unfair competition in the UK market from lower standard meat imported from outside of Europe. It would put the livestock sector in serious jeopardy.”

Mr Wyn Evans an upland farmer from Mid Wales and Chairman of the NFU Cymru Livestock Board said, “Sheep production is critical to the rural economy of Wales and brings with it clear environmental benefits. 

Being safe on farm and reducing the high level of life changing incidents should be a priority for all who live and step foot on farm holdings.

In the last ten years, 388 farmers, their family members or farm workers have been killed on British farms and of these, 38 were in Wales.

Thousands more have suffered serious injuries which still impact daily and changed lives forever.

With this in mind the Farmers’ Union of Wales is reminding farmers to book their space at the upcoming ‘Saving lives and livelihoods’ farm safety awareness events.

The Wales Farm Safety Partnership (WFSP), a collaboration between all the key organisations representing agriculture and allied industries in Wales, is determined to reduce these stubbornly high statistics by persuading farmers of all ages to attend a regional workshop on general farm safety.  

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