A Happy New Year to you all! I hope you are ready to tackle what promises to be a momentous year for the industry, writes FUW Brecon and Radnor Executive Office Kath Shaw.

2024 could see a change of Government at Westminster and new leadership within Government here in Wales. It is now more important than ever for politicians and policy makers to fully understand the economic importance of farm support payments within our rural economy.

Any cuts, however small, will have a knock on effect on many non-farming businesses here in Wales with our modelled worst case scenario showing that some non-farming business sectors would lose tens of millions in income as a result of any cuts to the farm support budget. The inevitable impact of such a decline in business activity in rural Wales would be an immediate and direct impact on business viability, rural employment and the very communities that are the backbone of rural Wales.

Union members can rest assured that we will do all we can to secure the best funding deal for the sector and will keep you informed as discussions with Welsh Government progress. At county level, we look forward to welcoming members to breakfast during our staple farmhouse breakfast week (15-21 January 2024) and hope many of you will join us. It is an excellent opportunity for us to get together and share thoughts over a cuppa, whilst we discuss those farming matters on our mind that might keep us awake at night. We’d love to have you there, so give us a call in the county office for more details and to book your seat at our breakfast table.

Another key issue we want to engage our members with early in 2024 is the final Sustainable Farming consultation. The SFS is going to form the mechanism through which farmers will receive support in Wales from 2025 onwards. It is the most important change to Welsh agricultural policy since the genesis of the Common Agricultural Policy in 1962 and we know that we can’t afford to get this wrong. Please get in touch with the office to find out more.

Wishing you all the best for the year ahead - we are here for you throughout the year.