It has been a difficult year for us all, with everyone feeling the pinch due to increases in the cost of day to day living.

That being said, I hope everyone reading this column is able to enjoy a little festive cheer and merriment over the next few weeks.

Food plays an integral role in many gatherings and with Christmas fast approaching, I wonder how many of you have put your orders in for a joint of meat (or two?) for your festive lunch? Whether your choice is turkey, PGI Welsh Beef, PGI Welsh Lamb or even goose, supporting local farmers and businesses is really important and very much appreciated. This can also be said for Welsh vegetables, dairy products and of course that festive tipple.

If you ask any farmer what they’d like for Christmas, at the top of many lists would be for consumers to ensure it’s Welsh or British produce they’re putting in their trolley.

Whether you buy high quality Welsh produce from the supermarket or order your food from a local butchers or farm shop, you will be supporting Welsh farming businesses, which in turn are the backbone of the Welsh rural economy, the axis around which rural communities turn.

The raw ingredients that we produce are the cornerstone of the £7.5 billion Welsh food and drink supply chain, 229,000 are employed across the whole food and drink supply chain with 78,000 employed in the food and farming sector.

Welsh farmers, first and foremost, provide safe, high quality and traceable food and at NFU Cymru we want to ensure that consumers in Wales, the UK and further afield can continue to enjoy and choose the top-quality food that we produce here. Welsh farmers look after over 80% of the land area of Wales, maintaining and enhancing our natural environment – Wales’ key asset.

Farming activity supports a diverse range of species and habitats, provides a range of ecosystem services including flood alleviation, carbon sequestration, climate change mitigation; and delivers the significant backdrop for Wales’ tourism and recreation sector worth an estimated £3 billion annually. Welsh farmers are also key promoters and protectors of our culture, heritage and the Welsh Language.

Welsh farmers produce food to some of the highest quality, animal health and environmental standards in the world. It is something we are extremely proud of in Wales and knowing people are enjoying themselves over the festive period, eating food we have produced is a fantastic feeling.

So not only will you be supporting local farmers and their families by eating Welsh food, but you will also be supporting the hundreds of businesses across the county who help produce this fantastic produce.

This will be my final column of 2022 so I would like to finish by wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year. Let us hope 2023 is a positive one.