It’s the week before Christmas and at our county offices across Wales, Union staff and officials alike, are busy putting the finishing touches on the last jobs of the year, writes FUW Brecon & Radnor Executive Officer Kath Shaw.

December has been anything but quiet, with our teams representing the Union in London, Cardiff and local marts alike.

It would be a missed opportunity not to mention the outstanding success Montgomeryshire Day was for the FUW at the beginning of this month, as it took the farming story right into the heart of the UK Government and saw our elected officials, County and National, meet with the Prime Minister.

News of Mark Drakeford providing a timetable for his retirement as Welsh Labour Leader was not a shock as such and we wish him well in his future endeavours. However, our demands to maintain the Rural Affairs budget for 2024/25 still stand and we will be making that case to Welsh Government regardless of who becomes the new First Minister here in Wales. Whilst we recognise the challenges that the Welsh Government must contend with, let’s remember that the entire budget for the Rural Affairs Department is a modest £482 million which represents just 2% of the overall Welsh Government Budget. It is of vital importance that this budget is, as a minimum, maintained to ensure that our obligations and ambitions in relation to food, nature and climate are achieved.

The other big news of course is the long awaited announcement on the final consultation in relation to the Sustainable Farming Scheme. This new scheme will bring in the most significant change to Welsh agricultural policy since the genesis of the Common Agricultural Policy in 1962. We have repeatedly consulted with our members on several versions of this scheme since 2018 and are now at the most critical stage of its development. The FUW can’t stress enough how important it is that members engage with us on this consultation in the new year. Details of information evenings will be released soon and I encourage everyone to ensure they make their voice heard on these proposals.

The next year will no doubt be a busy one for us all, so on a final note for this week - have a Merry Christmas, enjoy some glorious Welsh food over Christmas and stay safe.