At the end of last week, I attended the Plaid Cymru Party Conference in Caernarfon, an opportunity to meet with MSs, MPs and party members to highlight the current crisis in the farming industry and to set out the key policy changes that we would like to see government implement to address the situation.

NFU Cymru, in conjunction with the FUW, put on a fringe event at the conference to raise our shared concerns over the current proposals for Welsh Government’s Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS). We also used the event as an opportunity to stress the importance of the next UK Government providing sufficient funding for Welsh agriculture. On Saturday, Abi Reader, NFU Cymru Deputy President joined a panel of speakers for the Rural Wales panel session where they discussed the Sustainable farming and the challenges and opportunities for rural Wales.

It was pleasing to see the room full of MSs, MPs, prospective parliamentary candidates, councillors and conference delegates and we were fortunate to have Cefin Campbell MS open and close proceedings for us.

At the fringe event we were able to restate the five key objectives for future agricultural policy that the two unions first presented to the Senedd back in 2018 in a document titled ‘A Welsh Way forward’. These objectives were about providing stability to Welsh farming; supporting the family farm; supporting rural communities and employment; investing in sustainable agriculture and rewarding farmers for environmental outcomes.

It is clear to us that the current proposals for the SFS do not deliver against the objectives we set in 2018 and that is why we believe the current proposals need a major overhaul.

With a general election on the horizon, we were also keen to push forward our key ask of the next UK Government; that is for an agricultural budget which allows us to be able to meet our ambitions to be world leading in the production of climate friendly food against a backdrop where nature is thriving on our farms. Farmers are being asked to deliver more than ever before in terms of food, climate, and nature and to deliver this, we are looking to the political parties to commit within their respective manifestos, a budget for Welsh farming of at least £500 million annually.

Our attendance at political party conferences is an important part of our lobbying work especially with so much at stake in Wales with a number of pressing policy matters and in Westminster with a general election looming. NFU Cymru have attended and participated at the Welsh Conservative and Liberal Democrat Party Conferences recently and we will be doing the same at the Labour conference in July. NFU Cymru will also be joining colleagues from the NFU at the UK Party Conferences, which are held in the autumn.