CONCERNS over the impact of bovine TB, CAP reform and renewable energy were the big issues under discussion during a special farm visit.

Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb visited the family farm businesses of Wyn and Glenda Jones, of Pantyderi and Trefach farms, Blaenffos. Together with their son Eurig and Wyn’s mother Janet Jones they rear beef and sheep on 1,000 acres across both holdings.

The meeting was organised by the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) to provide an insight into the main issues affecting farm businesses in Wales.

Mr Crabb said he values the meetings organised by the FUW as they provide an opportunity to discuss government policy with farmers and get feedback on the challenges they are facing.

“Agriculture is vitally important to Pembrokeshire’s rural economy and it is important for me as the local MP to keep in close touch with local farmers.”

“We are glad that we had the opportunity to discuss various farming issues, affecting all sectors, with Mr Crabb,” said newly-elected FUW Pembrokeshire county chairman Hywel Vaughan.

“It is always good to show those, who don’t regularly come into close contact with the issues the farming industry faces, what happens on the ground.”

The impact of CAP reform was one of the main topics of discussion during the visit.

“We emphasised the importance of ensuring the best financial deal possible for farmers in Wales during the CAP reform discussions and the need for a long transition period to allow businesses to adjust to any decreases in payments to their businesses,” added Mr Vaughan “This is particularly important to farm businesses in Pembrokeshire as many farmers currently have high value entitlements due to the highly productive nature of farms in the area and would therefore see a significant drop in the amount of payment received after the reforms.”

Across the two businesses the Jones family farms 80 suckler cows, 350-400 store cattle – which are housed between November and May – 2,500 outdoor lambing ewes and keep 2,000- 3,000 store lambs.

The family also grows spring barley, oats and winter wheat and forage crops, stubble turnips, rape and swedes for home feed.

The family has diversified into renewable energy with a 104 kw solar installation and also offers self-catering cottages.

Trefach Farm, which is within the Intensive Action Area, is currently under TB restrictions, which has caused problems for the business as the family was prevented from buying store cattle for finishing, which is essential to the business to ensure a constant supply of fat cattle into the food chain.

Mr Crabb added: “I was very interested to learn about the way that Pantyderi is farmed. I particularly enjoyed the farm tour to view the livestock, land and buildings and to hear from Wyn Jones about each part of the farm’s operation.”

Wyn Jones said the visit provided an ideal opportunity to share views informally.

“It also gave us as individuals the insight as to how the UK Government and the Welsh Assembly regard agriculture in Wales,” said Mr Jones.

“Being a family farm and employing local people it was important to hear his views as to the ongoing discussions on the CAP reforms.”