Western Mail Country & Farming Column
August 29th 2017

Over the past month, like thousands of others, I enjoyed the agricultural shows. I also had a stand in Llanelwedd at the Royal Welsh show.

I enjoyed visiting the stalls and meeting friends and acquaintances. While spending time watching the animals and taking a tour around the glorious food halls, it was a real joy to witness the very best that Wales has to offer in terms of livestock and produce.

Amongst the hustle and bustle of the show, at times it felt like any other visit to the Royal Welsh, but of course the future of the Welsh agricultural sector post leaving the EU was firmly on the minds of most. It was difficult not to think about what is in store over the next few years.

There is great uncertainty following the decision to leave the EU. Uncertainty alone, as we have already witnessed, is damaging to our economy. That is why Plaid Cymru is working to ensure that every penny of European funding is replaced by the UK Government. It is vital that the Welsh Government commit to using this funding to support agriculture and the rural economy. The agricultural sector in wales has specific needs and is important to all of us. According to research by the NFU, for every 1 invested in farm support in the UK, farming delivers 7.40 back to the economy.

Farmers will need significant time to adapt before a new farm support system is put in place. The Welsh and UK Governments must ensure a transition period for future funding arrangements at least equivalent to the duration of the remainder of the current and the next CAP funding cycles. We must have a future arrangement that supports the specific nature of Welsh agriculture.

In order to help secure a prosperous future for Welsh farming, we need to limit the negative effects of uncertainty while encouraging more young people to enter the sector. In the European Parliament I will certainly be working to that end and ensuring that Wales's voice is heard

Ends

Photo: Jill Evans