View from NFU Cymru

By Jake Chown  
Friday 12th November 2021 7:00 am
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This week’s column is by Stella Owen.,NFU Cymru Monmouthshire County Adviser

As the trees lose their leaves and the colour of the landscape changes, that too could be true for the farming industry. Much media has been focussed on farmers losing land to tree planting, tax on beef and the changing colours of policy is causing not just the leaf loss, but snapped branches as patience becomes challenged with some sweeping statements about our farming industry.The abundance of trees surrounding us with deep roots, the ability to stay alive from healthy soils, a water supply and outreaching branches to provide shelter from storms and shade in summer, not to mention a welcome host to our wildlife friends. We visited Aberfan last week with the children. It’s something we found incredibly moving. In the remembrance garden was a couple from Kent who we got talking to, sharing their horror at such a failure to cause such a tragedy. They did, however, say the welcome in Wales was second to none and like the trees, they had been offered open arms in welcome, with colourful characters deep-rooted with Welsh pride in their hearts of industry, be that coal, steel, or farming.On turning on social media, TV and opening articles online, it is very easy to forget with all the noise of COP26, that the world around it is continuing. As the trees continue in their quest to survive winter, farmers are getting stock in to protect them from storms and to protect their soils, fields and the environment. The wheels keep on turning on farms just like the landscape changes its colour so quietly and we know, for all the hype in Glasgow, our Welsh farmers are producing food to world leading standards on our home soils that are invaluable to feed our consumers, not once, not twice but three times a day. Our union leaders will have stepped up to many a media interview during COP26; for them it can be a lonely place as the noises keep turning on farming in terms of emissions and net zero. Being put on the spot and challenged on some very potent headlines can be extremely difficult, but their knowledge and ability to concentrate on the facts is exemplary. Just as the NFU Cymru tree strategy has launched - it’s important to have the right tree in the right place with the right people in order for us all to grow together.

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