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Farming

Thousands of Welsh farms to receive early payment support

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More than 15,600 farm businesses across Wales will tomorrow receive a share of over £159.6m in Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) Advance payments, Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths has announced.

This news means 97% of claimants will receive an automatic payment worth 70% of their estimated full claim value.

Historically, BPS payments have commenced from 1 December annually. However, regulation changes made by the Welsh Government following the end of the EU Exit Implementation Period has simplified the requirements of BPS for 2021 and beyond.

This has allowed BPS Advance payments to be made prior to December to eligible BPS 2021 claimants, without the need to submit an application, as opposed to the opt-in BPS Support Scheme administered in previous years.

Full and Balance BPS 2021 payments will commence from 15 December as agreed with industry representatives.

The Welsh Government has already announced its intention for the Basic Payment Scheme to run until the end of 2023, subject to the UK Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review.

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A new system is being introduced which will move away from income support for famers to a system which pays farmers for the environmental benefit they deliver.

Rural Affairs Minister, Lesley Griffiths said: “As we move to our new Sustainable Farming Scheme it is crucial we provide support to secure the long term sustainability and resilience of the farming sector.

“Following the end of the EU Exit Implementation Period and through consultation, I introduced legislation which simplified the requirements of BPS and will provide early payments to the vast majority of farm businesses in Wales.

“Full and remaining balance BPS 2021 payments will be made from 15 December, subject to full validation of a BPS claim and my officials will use the next two months to maximise the number of farmers receiving these payments early in the payment window.”

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Environment

Grazing cows to save rare butterflies

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Cattle have returned to Crynant’s Rhos Common this year for the autumn season.

Butterfly Conservation, PONT Cymru, Natural Resources Wales and Neath Port Talbot Council’s Countryside and Wildlife Team have been working together with local farmers to enable cattle to graze on the common once again.

This will benefit local wildlife and reduce hazards such as grass fires and flooding.

Grazing will help to better maintain the purple moor grass and rush pasture habitat of the common. This will benefit the rare Marsh Fritillary butterfly. This is a threatened European species declining rapidly in the UK. However, the butterfly has a stronghold in the Ystradgynlais and surrounding area and conservationists are working hard to preserve the populations.

Allowing cattle to graze the land will also reduce the potential fire load and hence the risk of deliberate grass fires. It will also improve the ability of the common to hold water, helping to reduce flooding during periods of wet weather.

Councillor Annette Wingrave, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Sustainable Development, said: “We at Neath Port Talbot Council are really pleased to support this project. By enabling the cattle to graze safely on the common, we are protecting the habitat that is needed for the rare Marsh Fritillary butterfly to survive.”

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Dai Rees, Head of Conservation for Butterfly Conservation Wales said: ‘’It’s fantastic to see cattle back once again which will benefit Marsh Fritillaries, local wildlife and local communities. Working together in partnership brings many rewards and I look forward to seeing the positive results in the future. ’’

Karl Hopkins, secretary of the Rhos Commoners Association said: “This is great news for graziers of common land, enabling safer grazing. Grazing the commons is important to support biodiversity and help combat climate change in Wales.”.

Cattle have now returned to the common. Livestock may be near to the road and motorists are being advised to take due care and caution when cattle are on the common.

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Carmarthenshire

Carmarthenshire Federation of Young Farmers Clubs cycle 75km around county for charity

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Around thirty cyclists got on their bikes to raise an incredible £4,350 for three important causes.

The members, county officials and friends of Carmarthenshire Federation of Young Farmers Clubs completed a 75km cycle around the county, which started off in Llandovery and finished in Whitland.

The sun shone during the successful Seiclo’r 75 event which was in aid of the Wales Air Ambulance, Carmarthen First Responders and Leukaemia Research Appeal for Wales. Each cause received £1,450.

This is the first time that the Carmarthenshire Federation of Young Farmers Clubs has held the 75km cycle around the county, however every year they take part in an annual challenge that raises money for local charities.

Wales Air Ambulance offers advanced critical care and is often described as a ‘Flying ED’. The on-board consultants and critical care practitioners are highly skilled and carry some of the most pioneering medical equipment in the world. They can deliver blood transfusions, administer anaesthesia and undertake emergency operations at the scene of the incident, before flying the patient directly to specialist care. 

A spokesperson for Carmarthenshire Federation of Young Farmers Clubs, said: “Congratulations to everyone who completed the challenge of cycling 75km from Llandovery to Whitland. Thank you to everyone who was involved in the day – from everyone who helped feed and keep the cyclists hydrated, to the support vehicles, to all of the supporters who came along the way – hearing your support really helped us reach the end! 

“Thank you also to the sponsors of the challenge: Siop Londis Gwalia Drefach Felindre, Lewis Carpentry and Construction, Hafod Farm Supplies and S A Evans Groundworks and Construction.

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“Thank you to everyone who has contributed financially also – we managed to raise £4350 which is £1450 each for Wales Air Ambulance Wales, Carmarthen First Responders and Leukemia Research Appeal for Wales.”

Wales Air Ambulance has four aircraft based across Wales, in Dafen, Caernarfon, Welshpool and Cardiff. 

Now operational 24/7, the Charity needs to raise £8 million every year to keep the helicopters flying.  

Katie Macro, Wales Air Ambulance’s South West Wales Community Fundraiser, said: “Congratulations to everyone who took part in the Seiclo’r 75 fundraising event. Thank you for raising an incredible amount of money for three important causes in Wales.

“You should all be incredibly proud of raising £4,350. Every donation to the Wales Air Ambulance will help us be there for the people of Wales when they need us.”

(All images: Wales Air Ambulance / Carmarthenshire Federation of Young Farmers)

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Business

New cattle-focused veterinary practice launches in West Wales

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The Cattle Vet, a new, independent veterinary practice focused on cattle, has launched in West Wales.

Based in Carmarthen, Newcastle Emlyn and Cardigan, the practice is led by two highly experienced, cattle-focused vets – Richard Cumming and Lies Beekhuis.

Richard’s career choice was driven by his own experience of growing up in the farming community of West Wales; his family’s farm, with pedigree Simmental cattle, is based close to Cynwyl Elfed, Carmarthen. Richard qualified in 2016 and has been working in West Wales ever since.

“My mother has reared cattle since I was a young child and we now show pedigree cattle as well,” he says. “Growing up I remember scenarios where things were going wrong, and my mum was very stressed and then we’d call the vet and suddenly it would all be sorted. For me, the vet was always the person who turned up and fixed the problems – and I decided that was what I wanted to do. Now as a vet I realise we can go one step further and try to prevent these scenarios from happening.”

Originally from The Netherlands, Lies Beekhuis qualified in 2006 from Utrecht University and has worked in practice and taught vet students in Carmarthenshire since 2010. She is a European and RCVS specialist in cattle and the partner of a dairy farmer who farms at Gilwen farm in Newcastle Emlyn.

“Lies has been a mentor to me and as is a vital part of the business,” says Richard. “Being a specialist she’s able to train vets and farmers, and offers a very high level of service to address more complicated situations. Her specialist status helps to maintain us at the forefront of veterinary medicine.”

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Richard and Lies mainly focus on cattle but are happy to service all livestock on farms. They chose to specialise in cattle because of their extensive experience in this area and a desire to create a practice that excels in one specific area.

The practice covers all aspects of veterinary work including pregnancy diagnosis, sick cows, emergency work and TB testing. Lies and Richard understand that preventative medicine is essential for farmer’s survival, so they can provide support by helping to improve the overall health of the herd.

“By clinically examining groups of animals, and analysing data weak points can be identified,” says Lies. “Data recording and collection are essential in this.”

The aim of The Cattle Vet is to provide outstanding support and expertise for cattle farmers in West Wales.

“We’re focused on being the best we can at cattle, working at the forefront of the cattle industry and anything  dairy and beef related rather than trying to spread ourselves thinly across all farm enterprises,” says Lies. “We want to work with forward thinking farmers and support our industry in this changing and evolving market.”

More: thecattlevet.co.uk

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