Members of the NFU Cymru Next Generation Group visited Cardiff recently where they took part in a number of meetings with elected representatives as well as a farm tour.
The first stop for the 16 young farmers was Cathays Park, where they met with Minster for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths and her officials.
The group spent an hour with the Minister, and then a further hour with her Agriculture and Veterinary teams asking questions about a wide range of topics including future farm support, water quality, bovine TB and the mental impacts it is having on farmers.
The group were keen to stress to the Minister and officials that education around farming is vital for the future of the industry and that it is important that children are aware of where their food comes from, as well as the health benefits of eating meat and dairy products.
Neil Davies, NFU Cymru Brecon & Radnor Next Generation Group member said: “I’d like to thank the Minister and her team for taking the time to meet with us.
‘‘It was really important that they heard our concerns so they understand that future policies must work for all farmers.
‘‘We asked a number of robust questions and we also impressed upon them that there needs to be joined up thinking between farming, food and education.”
The group then travelled to Cardiff Bay where they took part in a tour of The Senedd before meeting with Plaid Cymru MS, Cefin Campbell.
Mr Campbell is the Plaid Cymru Designated Member for the Cooperation agreement with the Welsh Government.
During the meeting, Mr Campbell spoke about the coalition agreement between Plaid Cymru and Welsh Government but also about how important farming and the countryside are to him.
The group raised issues about the Sustainable Farming Scheme and the proposed 10 per cent tree cover and the impact that will have food production in Wales, as well as the water quality regulations.
Manon Bryn Jones, Mid Gwynedd Next Generation Group member said: “As a group we are really grateful to Cefin Campbell for agreeing to meet with us.
‘‘It was good to hear from him about his own background, but also the coalition with Welsh Government and the work they have undertaken on NVZs.
‘‘It is vital that we all respond to the water quality consultation when it is released shortly.”
That evening, the group met with Conservative Rural Affairs Spokesperson, Sam Kurtz MS.
During the meeting the Agriculture (Wales) Bill and the Sustainable Farming Scheme was discussed with an emphasis put on the need to support sustainable food production.
Rob Powell, NFU Cymru Glamorgan Next Generation Group member, said: “On behalf of the group I would like to thank Sam Kurtz for hosting.
‘‘It was great to hear his views and be able to ask him questions about a number of wide-ranging farming issues.”
On day two of the trip, the group visited the farm of NFU Cymru Deputy President Abi Reader near Wenvoe, Cardiff. During the tour, they learnt about how Abi’s predominately dairy farm works and had the chance to learn more about her role as an officeholder for the union.
NFU Cymru Clwyd Next Generation Group member, Susie Mottershead said: “We had a great two days, with some fantastic political engagement, culminating in a visit to Abi’s farm. It was fantastic to spend some time as group, learning from each other, as well as raising issues with the Minister and MSs about the things impacting on our businesses at the moment.”
NFU Cymru deputy president Abi Reader said: “It was a pleasure to have the Next Generation group out on farm and to see first-hand what an enthusiastic and passionate group of young farmers we have. The future of Welsh farming is certainly in safe hands.”