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26 Farming


THE HERALD FRIDAY JANUARY 13 2017


Follow us on Twitter @pembsherald


£40m small grant scheme for farmers


businesses to thrive in a post-Brexit world. “A focus on early and effective


business planning is vitally important and support with this is available from a number of quarters including our own Farming Connect programme, the benefits of which have been enjoyed by many farmers in Wales over recent years.” Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford


Vital scheme is easily accessibly: Stephen James, NFU Cymru A £40M SCHEME will be


available to farmers to help them reduce their carbon emissions and to improve their resilience and competitiveness, including through diversification, Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, has announced. A small capital grants scheme for


farmers was a commitment in Taking Wales Forward, the Welsh Government’s programme for government for the next five years. The scheme, which is being part-funded from the Welsh Government’s Rural Development Programme, has been announced as part of the Welsh Government’s 2017-18 final Budget. The Welsh Government is investing


£20m in the scheme, which will be co- financed by the Rural Development Programme. It will distribute financial support of


up to £12,000 at a 40% grant rate over a four-year period. Farmers across Wales will be able to invest in around 80 items linked to: • Animal health, genetics and performance;


Government


• Crop management; • Energy efficiency; • Resource efficiency; • ICT. The Welsh has


worked with farming unions and other partners to develop a list of capital items with


specifications and costs. The p r o p o s e d items offer applicants the opportunity to achieve a step-


change in their business performance. The scheme is consistent with the


Welsh Government’s priorities for agriculture and the Strategic Framework Partnership Group for Agriculture, Amaeth Cymru’s vision of a prosperous, resilient agriculture industry promoting Wales’ present and future well-being. Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary


for Environment and Rural Affairs, said: “I am delighted we are able to announce this £40m package of support to help farmers transform their businesses. This was a key commitment in our Programme for Government: Taking Wales Forward and we are delivering on our promise. “We have worked with farming


unions and other partners to identify how best to support farmers to achieve this and I would like to thank them for working so closely with us on this important initiative. “We see this money very much as


an investment in our farmers which will benefit Wales as a whole. It will enable our farmers to operate in a more efficient and environmentally-friendly way and make their businesses more competitive. “This is undoubtedly a boost for


standardised


Welsh farming at a time when there is a lot of uncertainty about what the future holds following the UK’s decision to leave the EU. The new support I am announcing today will be of considerable assistance as our farmers begin to consider how best to shape their


added: “Our 2017-18 Budget provides ambition and stability in uncertain times. The additional funding supports our ambition for successful and sustainable rural communities and will benefit individuals, families and strengthen communities across Wales.” The first application window is


expected to open from April 2017 and further advice and guidance on how to apply will be made available on the Welsh Government website. Commenting on the announcement,


NFU Cymru President Stephen James said: “We are pleased that Welsh Government has recognised the need for a small grants scheme to compliment the sustainable production grant scheme which targets larger projects. This will allow many more farmers in Wales to make on-farm investments that improve business and environmental performance. “At this stage, we do not know the


operational detail of the scheme which is expected to open in April 2017. It is vital that the scheme is easily accessible and clearly communicated to the industry with an application process that is straightforward and user-friendly.” The Farmers’ Union of Wales


(FUW) welcomed Lesley Griffiths’ announcement. FUW Younger Voice Committee


Chairman Darren Williams said: “Over the past three years, farmers have paid around £120 million into the Rural Development Programme through pillar transfers, so the opportunity to access funding to improve their businesses in this way will be welcome. “The FUW has lobbied


hard to secure such a scheme


Darren Williams, FUW: Opportunity to access funding welcome


An investment in small farmers: Lesley Griffiths


for years, and more recently has worked with Hybu Cig Cymru, AHDB Dairy and the Welsh Government to draw up a list of possible items which would


MANY farmers are starting


or are in full swing with lambing and calving and, of course, there will be livestock out in the fields. It can be a difficult time for farmers and their livestock if, during that time, they are stressed by dogs running loose in the field. Dogs on the run pose a danger


to unborn lambs and calves, but also those about to give birth may be so stressed by the experience that it results in an abortion. The damage and financial loss are


one thing - but where do you stand legally? Unfortunately, this is a bit of a grey area in terms of the legal position. In the eyes of civil law, farmers


are limited with what actions they can take and only extend to the use of legitimate and reasonable means. But what exactly does that mean? Well, the key issue is whether you injured the dog legitimately or not. We know that if your livestock is injured or killed by a dog, the compensation you receive is covered under the Animals Act 1971 and the keeper of the dog is liable for the damage. The act also covers farmers who injure a dog in order to protect their livestock. But to be able to rely on that


defence, you, as farmers, need to prove that there are or were no reasonable means of preventing the worrying; that the dog has not left the vicinity; that the dog is not under an individual’s control and there is no


improve farm performance.” Mr Williams said that while there


would no doubt be items desired by some businesses which will not have made it onto the list due to the strict selection criteria, the comprehensive list of those which had would bring major benefits to farms. “We are continually striving to make


our farms more efficient and effective, while also lowering our impact on the environment, but with many farm incomes well below the £20,000 mark, finding the money to invest in what’s


way of confirming who the owner of the dog is. Also important to remember is


that if the dog is shot, regardless of whether or not it is killed or injured, you must notify the local police authority within 48 hours. If we look at such a scenario


through the eyes of criminal law, then the Animal Welfare Act 2006 makes it a criminal offence to cause unnecessary suffering to animals. Again, here we must consider several factors, such as could the shooting have been avoided and was it for a legitimate purpose? We can say with some certainty that shooting a dog for merely trespassing is not going to pass as a legitimate reason. But, if the dog was threatening your livestock and you were protecting it, then that would be a reasonable defence. So, the best thing to do is to


avoid these situations in the first place. Of course, dog owners have a responsibility and are urged to keep their dog on a lead. But, as farmers, we can also


take a few steps to help the situation; for example, ensuring that there are plenty of signs on the land, especially if it’s close to a public right of way, advising dog walkers to keep their pets on a lead or change where the animal feeders are placed, so that livestock congregates away from public pathways, reducing the risk of conflict.


needed can be impossible. “This scheme should therefore


provide welcome help on that front, while seeing investment on farms which have paid into the RDP for years but not received anything. I do, however, hope that every farmer will be able to access the scheme and not just a select target few,” said Mr Williams. Mr Williams added he looked


forward to seeing more of the scheme’s details, and hoped the application and implementation rules would not be too burdensome.


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