HOW many of you are busy shopping for the up-coming Christmas festivities?

Some of you might be organised and have finished buying gifts for loved ones, family and friends already, writes FUW president Glyn Roberts.

Some of you might also have your shopping list for the festive feast all up to date as well.

But don’t panic if you’re not that organised just yet. There is still plenty of time.

With Christmas shopping in mind, I would urge you to keep it close to home if you can to show support for rural and local businesses.

As we know the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted how vital local shops are and we wouldn’t want to see them forgotten now that a newer normal has arrived.

Over the past few years we have seen how important the local shops and businesses are.

Many of us relied on them to help out with delivering food and other essentials during the various lockdowns and now is the time to repay that favour by supporting them.

So as we speed towards Christmas, think about your rural businesses and see if you can buy local, either for the upcoming Christmas dinner or even gifts for family and friends.

You can also speak to your local butcher about meat for the Christmas period and see what the local farm shop has to offer.

I promise you will find many of the ingredients you need for your Christmas dinner right on your doorstep.

With that in mind, supporting our farmers by choosing Welsh produce is also another way to show your support for our great industry.

We have said it many times before, but it stands as true at Christmas time, as any other time of the year - our farmers do an amazing job in producing sustainable, nutritious food for us that is kind to the environment and brings many other benefits too.

There is also the cultural importance of agriculture to consider - the language, the communities. Any rural community thrives when there’s a vibrant red meat and agricultural sector and by supporting these family farms, you are helping to keep our rural communities alive as well.

There are plenty of small shops around that offer Welsh craft and locally designed gifts too and of course the choice for local food gifts is plentiful.

It really is worth having a look. These are small decisions we can make that will have a big impact on our rural economy, and we need to support our rural businesses who are recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.