by Meyrick Brown

SPECIAL guest NFU director general, Terry Jones, told the county branch's annual conference that the union had brought in thee best brains to deal with the implications of Brexit.

He told members at the Nantyffin Motel, Llandissilio, that the strategy was to continue to build upon already excellent relations with the NFU’s of Scotland and Northern Ireland and, improving connectivity, over the past year bilateral talks have also been held with farming leaders across many European countries.

He considered the NFU to shaping up well and, having invested heavily to bring in the best brains to deal with the implications of Brexit and the way forward.

Also, to promote significant areas, the knowledge and skills readily available in Stoneleigh and at Wales level would ensure the best leadership essential in finding long term solutions.

The other half of the equation was to support all those very willing elected members who continue to promote the aims of the union from grassroots to the much greater role that it plays in the bigger picture.

In terms of economic strength some 60,000 are actively involved in the industry in Wales alone but, taking the food chain as a whole, 3.9 million jobs now depend on this sector in the UK.

He said that in the wider scheme of things the NFU was always punching above its weight and putting the industry on the map yet figures – which the Treasury do not like publicised – indicated that for every pound the Government spends on agriculture it gets £7.4 in return.

Welsh-born Mr Jones – who has always spent most of his family holidays in Pembrokeshire – said the union had access to all significant information at the highest levels and would seek to continually unlock the potential of our agriculture and the food industry.

Responding to questions he said that in respect of NVZ (nitrate vulnerable zone) issues here was a superb example of an industry taking charge of its problems and finding a solution to move forward.

With regards to encouraging new members it became clear that introducing a next generation board was proving a huge success and this was something that would readily be further built upon.

In thanking the speaker Jeff Evans, county branch chairman, congratulated Mr Jones on recently being balloted as the most influential figure in the UK agriculture industry today.

John Davies, a beef and sheep farmer from Merthyr Cynog, Brecon, was introduced as the new president of the NFU in Wales having succeeded local member, Stephen James, earlier in the week.

Sarah Raymond, agricultural manager of HSBC – who sponsored the conference –emphasised it’s commitment to the farming sector and ensured that it was open for business to meet the needs of all clients.