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Farm income figures highlight fears for the future, says FUW leader

FUW

New farm income figures were a strong reminder of the major fears Welsh farmers have for the future, Farmers' Union of Wales president Emyr Jones said today.

"The union is concerned but not really surprised at the 30% cut in farm income figures released today, and the fact that there has been a significant drop across all sectors is a particular worry.

"The extraordinary weather last year coupled with the withdrawal of the Tir Mynydd Scheme had a devastating effect on the incomes of many farms which could not have been foreseen by any 'resilience' measures.

"The wet summer of 2012, coupled with the late freeze and major snowfall in the spring of 2013, meant that even the most efficient of farms faced unprecedented costs for which no resilience measures could have coped with.

"Whether it was loss of livestock or having to buy in fodder and feed, many farmers are still feeling the financial effects of the weather and this is likely to be a longer term issue for the industry in Wales.

"The union raised its concern at Natural Resources and Food Minister Alun Davies' recent announcement that he would top slice farm payments by the EU maximum of 15% and this, coupled with cuts to the overall CAP budgets, will mean that farmers are set to lose up to 23% of their CAP payments in 2014, which is extremely worrying as businesses that have seen significant cuts in their incomes will find it even harder to compete during 2014.

"The Welsh Government is due to consult on its Rural Development Plan in the next few weeks and it will be vital to ensure that the 15% top sliced from farmers attracts additional match funding to ensure that the amount made available to Welsh farmers is worth more than they will lose through top slicing and the inevitable administration costs of pillar transfers."

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