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

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.



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”.


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.  

A new online calculator has been launched to allow farmers to see the potential effect on their businesses of various Brexit scenarios.

Developed by The Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board, its aim is to help farmers and growers review their business and remain fit for the future. The calculator allows individuals to input their data and see what effects the various different scenarios might have on their business.

With the tremendous uncertainty still surrounding the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, it is important for farmers to be able to make conscious, proactive and strategic decisions for their business to ensure they thrive in the new market. The new tool has been developed to help farmers make such decisions while seeing what Brexit could mean for their bottom line.

In recent years many farmers have sought planning permission on redundant farm buildings to convert them into dwellings.

If a farmer is looking to develop the barn himself, rather than sell it on once permission has been granted, one of the key considerations is the ability to reclaim VAT on the development costs.  This is a highly complex area, and one that needs to be considered carefully on a case-by-case basis.

Whether or not VAT can be reclaimed, and indeed at what rate, will depend on the intended use of the building.  The rates and amounts can vary, subject to different rules, depending on who is to occupy the building, whether that be a family member or an agricultural worker, for example.

If the barn is to be used as holiday accommodation, VAT can be fully recovered on development costs with the condition that VAT is then charged and repaid to HMRC on income from the letting.

Just a reminder that for those who registered a Lasting Power of Attorney or an Enduring Power of Attorney with the Office of the Public Guardian between April 2013 and 31st March 2017, an application to reclaim a portion of the fees paid can be made. 

This includes for repeat applications and remissions with refunds being between £34.00 and £54.00 per Power, depending upon the date the fee was paid. 

If a Donor made the application to register, a rebate can be claimed online or by telephone.  If the Donor has died, their Personal Representative can apply by email or post with the refund being paid to the Donor only (or the Estate).  Applications can be made up to 31st January 2021 and to apply for a rebate, the Power must have been made in England or Wales.

For the full July 2018 Legal Update see:

Following the publication of today’s Brexit white paper on the future relationship between the UK and the EU, the Presidents of the four UK farming unions1 have issued a joint statement:

“We are pleased to see the proposals agreed by the Cabinet last week included in this white paper, particularly given that the four UK farming unions have long-maintained that free and frictionless trade between the EU and UK is crucial for food and farming.

“If British farmers are to continue playing their part in providing high-quality and affordable food to the British public, as well as delivering for the environment, the principle of a free trade area for goods, including agri-food, is vital for our sector.

“British farmers produce food to some of the highest production and animal welfare standards in the world and we are pleased to see the government intend to maintain these standards as part of a deal.

Farming in Wales will change forever under the Welsh Government's Brexit And Our Land proposals.

Moves to replace the Common Agricultural Policy in Wales are being driven by farming’s inability to achieve Welsh Government goals, especially in terms of the environment.

Over its six decades the CAP has done little to decarbonise Wales and it is seen as too blunt a tool to improve economic productivity, according to the administration’s Brexit And Our Land consultation document, published this week .

Drastic proposals will see farmers become ‘land managers’ who are paid only for pre-agreed outcomes, with no income subsidies

The concept of the farmer is to disappear in Wales over the next decade as the industry undergoes its biggest shake-up in almost 60 years.

A consultation document published today, setting out a new funding support system for Welsh agriculture, makes no mention of farmers but instead refers to them as “land managers”.

This is intended to reflect their future roles as multi-faceted professionals who are equally adept at managing water resources and storing carbon as they are at producing food and wool.

The new funding set-up, outlined by the Welsh Government in its “Brexit and our Land” document, proposes to remove all income support from agriculture, with no safety nets...

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