NFU Cymru and the other UK farming unions have called on major retailers’ commitment to support the industry during this difficult time in response to extremely challenging and disruptive weather this spring.

Exceptional rainfall and a succession of damaging storms have impacted livestock, arable and horticultural sectors and disrupted individual farm businesses the length and breadth of the country. Lambing, calving, planting and field work have all proved very difficult and brought additional costs to businesses.

NFU Cymru, NFU, NFU Scotland and Ulster Farmers’ Union have written to major retailers seeking commitment to support the industry during this difficult time.

These challenges come at a time when many of our members are already struggling to remain viable due to the perfect storm of sustained and spiralling production costs, low market returns, and increasing levels of regulation. This latest challenge, whilst not new, is more acute than ever, and is compounding the pressure on our members. Farmers and growers continue to bear the lion’s share of the risk within their supply chains, and this is unsustainable.

NFU Cymru has raised its concerns about the impact of the recent wet weather with the new Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change and Rural Affairs, urging for an empathetic and flexible approach to assist the industry in navigating these short-term challenges. We also recognize, however, the important role which retailers have to play in helping the industry to withstand this latest crisis. Together with the other UK farming unions, we are asking the major retailers to support our members by implementing the following measures: steadfast commitment to local sourcing; fair supply chains; flexibility on product specification; rapid payment of suppliers; and promotion of local suppliers.

It is no exaggeration to say that the current challenges are some of the most acute the industry has faced in a very long time, and we need support across the board to maintain food production across the UK and safeguard our food security. Welsh farmers will continue to work tirelessly in the face of this latest adversity to maintain their high standards of production and welfare that customers have now come to expect, and we are urging government and retailers to support those efforts.