Brexit talks with Monmouthshire NFU Cymru

MONMOUTHSHIRE NFU Cymru has met with David Davies MP to discuss the latest developments in Brexit negotiations. 

The meeting was an opportunity for local farmers to get an understanding of how talks are progressing in Westminster on trade deals, tariffs and future domestic agricultural policy.

NFU Cymru member Nigel Bowyer said: “Whilst the Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) Health and Harmony consultation rightly acknowledges the very high standards of animal welfare that UK farmers operate to, in the next paragraph the consultation speaks of opening up our own markets to benefit consumers by increasing choice and competition.

"I am of the view that the domestic market to third country imports must be on the basis that these products have been produced to the same exacting animal welfare and environmental standards as our own.

"Anything less would be a sell-out which would undermine our own high standards".

Monmouth MP Mr Davies said: "Brexit is going to put the UK firmly in charge of our agricultural policies, with many powers that are currently in Brussels either coming back to London or Cardiff.

"It is therefore vitally important that MPs talk with farmers about how to ensure that the high standards of food and animal welfare which we get in Britain continue."

A future domestic agricultural policy was also raised. CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) payments account for an average of 81 per cent of net farm profits across all Welsh farm types, leaving the industry especially exposed to any changes to the level of support paid to farmers. Despite being just 4.7 per cent of the UK population, Wales accesses around 9.4 per cent of the CAP funds which come to the UK from Europe. This reflects the type of agriculture that is prevalent in Wales, as well as the relative importance of the sector to the economy. 

Furthermore, if future support to Welsh agriculture was subject to a population share-based allocation, this would imply a reduction in funding levels of 50 per cent - something which would have a disastrous impact on Welsh agriculture.

Those present sought assurances that any future funding for Welsh agriculture would continue to be allocated on the basis of our historic relative share and not recalculated according to population size.

Mr Davies added: “The UK Government has already made it clear that funding will remain at exactly the same level throughout this Parliament and that future farm payments will continue. 

"I am a keen supporter of Brexit and I am confident we can get an outcome which is good for farmers. In the meantime, I look forward to further meetings with NFU Cymru and others across the county.”

Gary Yeomans, who kindly hosted the visit on his farm at Llanvetherine, said: “We are most grateful to David for coming to meet with us to discuss the latest political developments.

"We sincerely hope that dialogue continues such as this to ensure that farmers’ voices in Monmouthshire are heard.”