THE year 2021 has been another year of challenges for the agricultural industry, but as always, we have taken the stumbling blocks into our stride, writes FUW president Glyn Roberts.

Reflecting on the year, it never fails to amaze me how resilient this industry is.

As an industry, we dealt with climate change, trade deals, funding issues, bovine TB and NVZ regulations.

Add to this livestock worrying, poor mental health and much more.

The FUW stood firmly behind our industry highlighting the good work you, our members, do every day and provided support and guidance to members throughout the year.

We consistently argued that whilst climate change has to be at the core of policy development for the Welsh Government and Senedd, we shouldn’t make sweeping changes that undermine our family farms and food production.

And as the climate change conversations got louder, we discussed the merits and drawbacks of limiting the amount of carbon credits that can be sold from Welsh land, carbon trading quotas and other approaches that might be applied in Wales.

We also highlighted ongoing concerns that Welsh farms are being purchased by companies from outside Wales in order to cash in on the growing carbon market.

Furthermore, we highlighted that we must not shift food production to countries with lower animal welfare standards and higher global and environmental footprints.

This was especially pertinent when it came to trade deal negotiations, as the UK Government are still proactively seeking to sign trade deals with countries with production standards which fall well short of those already required of Welsh food producers.

Throughout the year, we have been facing many uncertainties and sadly the reaction of the Welsh Government to some of them was at times bewildering and counterintuitive, not least in terms of its appetite to drastically increase costs and restrictions while advocating untried and untested reforms of rural support policies.

Towards the end of the year the agreement between the Welsh Labour Party and Plaid Cymru to work cooperatively for the next three years on 46 policies where there is a common interest raised a number of questions.

As members might expect, we keep a close eye on such developments in order to seek the best future for our family farms.

On a final note, during another year of remote working I think everyone has done an amazing job in serving our members, lobbying and highlighting the excellent work that is being done on behalf of members and customers.

Let’s raise a glass to our staff and officials and look positively towards 2022.