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Southpaws take win

Farming news and views in Wales All prices exclude VATand delivery

Please call fordetails&quoteMWF Tel. 01643 841611 March 2013

Horsemeatraid on Welsh food plant

THE DEPUTY minister for agriculture says he will do all he can to uphold the integrity of the Welsh beef industry after ameat plant in west Wales wasraided as the horsemeat scandal deepened. In awritten statement, Alun Davies

said: “All Welsh beef branded products are subject to rigorous monitoring to maintain and underpin

Page 16

Handing out rural Oscars

the highest quality and highest standards. Ibelieve in the quality of Welsh beef and Itrust the integrity of the European Union’s Protected Geographical Indication status supply chain.” The Food Standards Agency (FSA)

and police raided FarmboxMeats in Llandre, near Aberystwyth on February 12th, along with an abattoir

in west Yorkshire. Theywere looking into allegations that meat products sold as beef were actually horse. The FSA suspended operations at

both plants, detained all meat found and seized paperwork, including customer lists. FarmboxMeats director Dafydd

Raw-Rees strenuously denied any wrongdoing. The firm is licensed to

deal with horses. As Wales Farmer went to press Dyfed-Powys Police and the FSA arrested three men, including twomen aged 64 and 42 at Llandre, on suspicion of offences under the Fraud Act. The FSA had ordered all retailers

to test processed meat after ready meals from European products were found to contain horsemeat.

pages 18-19

Sampling life on the farm

Future farmers ‘being robbed by council sell-offs’

COUNTY councils in

Wales are being urged to halt the large-scale sell- off of farms because ris- ing land prices and rental values in the private sec- tor are deterring young

entrants. In ayear when one Welsh agri-

page 25

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cultural college is reporting a surge in student numbers,county councils areaccused of selling off the very farms which could pro- vide astepping stone into agricul- turefor graduates. Tenant


Williams (pictured, right), says county council holdings area “valuableand essential’’ route into farming foryoung people in Wales. As chairman of the Younger

Voice forFarming Committee established by the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW), he has written to every local authority in Wales asking them to consider retaining existing farms in their ownership and to stop reducing the length of tenancy agreements. The 1970 AgricultureAct spec- ifies thatlocal authorities should

by Debbie James

aim to provide opportunities for persons to be farmers on their ownaccount by letting holdings to them. But in the last 11 years coun-

cils in Wales and England have sold offmorethan 1,000 farms. “Weare constantlyreminded

of the need to encouragethe youngest and brightest talent into agricultureand, formany, county council holdings remain one of the onlyentry routes in the indus- try,” said Mr Williams. “They must thereforebekept

as alegacy forfuturegenera- tions.” His criticism comes at atime

when Gelli AurCollege in Carmarthenshireisreporting a year on year rise in student num- bers of around six per cent. Thereare now124 full-time

and 71 part-time students at the college,with the upward trend described as “phenomenal’’ by faculty manager David Davies. “Weare seeing afive to six per cent increase every year against a

decline in the number of students leaving school. The pictureisvery positive,” he said. As the security of food supply becomes agreater source of con- cern, prospective students are buoyed by the greater value being placed upon farming. Last year,every student who successfullycompleted their course at Gelli Aureither secured ajob or progressed into higher education. “I don’t think this could be

said of anyother course,” added Mr Davies. Students,heexplained, were

travelling up to 70 miles dailyto attend courses,which forthe first time includes one taught entirely through the medium of Welsh. In addition to concerns about

the sale of council farms,Darren Williams has also raised concerns thatolder tenants arereluctant to leave medium and larger sized holdings,preventing the next gen- eration from accessing them. This,hesuggested, creates

stagnation within the industry and leads to aless dynamic rural economy. Mr Williams,who farms in

Breconshire, believedthatolder generation tenants should be offered smaller farms to make wayfor the newgeneration to takeonthe larger holdings. “It is understandablewhy ten-

ants,who have been farmers all their lives, would not want to abandon the farming industry altogether,” he admitted. In the past, local authorities

employedin-house land agents, butthis is becoming less com- mon. Mr Williams said this often resulted in an expensive service thatdeliveredlittle forboth the tenant and landlord. “The union asks

thatneighbouring councils together

group and

employafull-time agent specifically to deal with coun- ty council hold- ings and believes this would rep- resent


delivery forlocal authorities,ten- ants and the public purse,” he said.



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