A redesigned post-Brexit farm support regime is a once in a generation opportunity to strike the right balance between food production and the provision of other public goods.
That’s the view of Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM, after a visit to farmland in the Betws-y-Coed area where a group of farmers are managing the landscape to improve the environment as well as produce good quality food.
The meeting was hosted by Alun Davies, of Dylasau Isaf farm, who manages 306 acres of National Trust land at Dylasau Isaf Stud Farm in Padog, Betws-y-Coed. He is a member of Fferm Ifan, a group of farmers working together at a landscape scale to enhance the areas natural resources. He farms Welsh Mountain sheep and other rare breeds. The farm also operates as a small family Welsh Cob stud.
Mr Gruffydd said: “The Welsh Government’s consultation on ‘Brexit and our Land’ is a rare opportunity to design a support system from the bottom up, one that consolidates the delivery of key benefits to Welsh farming and wider society. Ensuring viable food production from the land whilst maximising the delivery of wider public goods will be central to building a more sustainable future for the sector.
“Farmers have continuously innovated over the centuries and this visit was a great opportunity to see how groups such as the RSPB, National Trust and the farming community are already working together on developing models that will play a much more prominent role in the future.
“The work being done at a grassroots level in schemes such as Fferm Ifan is a strong foundation on which to build a future model of farming that delivers on so many fronts.”
Arfon Williams, Countryside Manager, RSPB Cymru, said:
“We’re pleased to meet with Llyr Gruffydd AM at Dylasau Isaf to showcase how land managers can work hand in hand with nature. Our farmland wildlife is under threat, trends identified by the State of Nature Report 2016 show that more than half of our farmland species populations have declined over the past four decades. Therefore it’s great to see how farmers like Alun Davies can produce food whilst looking after nature and contributing to a healthy natural environment on which we all rely.”
From left: Local farmer Adam Russell, the RSPB’s Arfon Williams, Llyr Gruffydd AM, Alun Davies and Rhys Evans of the RSPB.