2021 was another year of challenges for the agricultural industry, but as always, we have taken the stumbling blocks in our stride.

Our year started in a very different way than usual - the long standing farmhouse breakfast week went virtual, as in-person events were still not possible due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Nonetheless, the team managed to raise thousands for our charity, the DPJ Foundation.

From the outset we were engaged in environmental and biodiversity work, urging members to take part in the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust’s Big Farmland Bird Count and highlighting the good work that is already being done on farms across Wales.

Against the backdrop of environmental work carried out by our farmers however, was frustration as members directly felt the brunt of not just climate change but inaction by authorities.

Cue the introduction of the Water Resources (Control of Agricultural Pollution) (Wales) Regulations 2021. It can still only be described as a gross betrayal of the industry and one we hope the committee looking into it now will rectify.

In our 2016 election manifesto, we warned of the unprecedented challenges facing the incoming Senedd members and government, and in the five years since, those challenges have not only materialised but been exacerbated and added to.

The National Wales:

FUW President Glyn Roberts.

The materialisation of a far harder form of Brexit than had been promised by those who lobbied for our departure from the EU has restricted access to our main export markets on the continent in ways which are only beginning to be felt, while the on-going Covid-19 pandemic has changed our lives beyond recognition - highlighting the fragility of global food supply chains and the importance of a strong farming sector on which our domestic markets should be able to rely for mainstream products.

While such issues have been largely beyond the control of our devolved administrations, the reaction of the Welsh Government to the uncertainty and challenges faced by our agriculture sector was at times bewildering and counterintuitive, not least in terms of its appetite for drastically increasing costs and restrictions while advocating untried and untested reforms of rural support policies.

Meanwhile, UK government cuts to Welsh rural funding - in direct contradiction to promises made repeatedly by those who advocated Brexit - have added to the pressures on Welsh agriculture.

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