Jane Dodds says farmers in Wales are facing increasing amounts of stress.

The Mid and West Wales MS said at the Senedd that it is being caused by Brexit and by increasing paperwork imposed by the Welsh Government.

She said these two factors have produced “major stress”.

Ms Dodds said that in the last 12-18 months, farmers have had to deal with control of agricultural pollution, Habitat Wales regulations and problems with mapping difficulties.

The paperwork in relation to testing for tuberculosis is “excessive”, and there’s concern over the sustainable farming scheme, particularly in relation to the 10 per cent tree requirement.

Ms Dodds said that also dropping into farmers’ letterboxes is paperwork about land valuation tax, which is again putting more stress on them.

She told Rural Affairs Minister, Lesley Griffiths: “That’s on top of what are everyday expectations around paperwork and bills that all of us have to cope with.

“In conversations with farmers, many of us have heard that these are real stresses for them.

“I hope the Welsh Government will do more to reassure farmers that any fresh red tape will not exacerbate the considerable mental health pressures that farmers are already facing.”

Ms Griffiths said that’s “certainly been her aim” and said she remembered saying to officials that if the “bureaucracy” around the Sustainable Farming Scheme was more than the Basic Payment Scheme, it “would not be a good thing at all.”

The Minister acknowledged “issues with mapping” around Habitat Wales regulations but said that in some ways, they can learn lessons ahead of the Sustainable Farming Scheme.

“It would have been better if it hadn’t happened at all, but unfortunately it has happened,” she said.

“But it’s really important that lessons have been learnt and I’ve certainly had assurance from officials that that is the case.”

The Minister then acknowledged the stresses that farmers face and said that it can build up.

She said: “And I absolutely understand, as someone who hates doing anything official—it just builds up and builds up—that it does cause a level of stress when—I think Mabon ap Gwynfor put it very clearly—you’re looking after animals, you’re running a business, you’re looking after a home, you’ve got a family, et cetera, and it’s just another worry.

“So, it is really important that we streamline it as much as we can.”