A STARK warning that farming in the Welsh uplands could be wiped out if support payments are cut post-Brexit has been issued by Farmers’ Union of Wales president Glyn Roberts.

Without support hill farms could be left with an income shortfall of up to 80%.

The Snowdonia livestock farmer also fears an unsuitable 'English-centric' solution will be imposed on Wales and has urged the government to maintain payments in Wales their current form.

Without subsidies, farmers would not only go out of business but the financial fallout would ripple across the whole rural community – including tourism, which contributes 10 per cent to the Welsh economy.

Mr Roberts, who farms 350-acres near Betws-y-Coed and says he earns no more than £20,000 a year from farming, warns that the future of businesses ranging from vets and auctioneers to abattoirs and retailers would be jeopardised.

Although he voted to stay in the EU, he accepts the Brexit result and will now be campaigning to get a fair deal for farmers from the Treasury.

“Our job now is to get Westminster to understand our unique situation.’’

In Wales, 80 per cent of farmland is defined as permanent pasture moorland, otherwise known as rough grazing. As such, Wales is the third biggest recipient of CAP funding per capita in Britain – only the north-east and Cornwall receive more.

Mr Roberts is appealing to policymakers to understand the uniqueness of Welsh farming by providing a funding solution to protect Welsh farming and tourism.

He is calling on the government to commit to a 10-year transition period for farming. Without this, farming could disappear and with it the landscape in its existing form, Mr Roberts suggests.

“In the valley where I farm there are 13 farms but if subsidies were abolished those 13 would become one farm as that scale would be needed to make it sustainable. This would have a considerably detrimental effect on the community.

“The government needs to consider if it wants to sustain not just a viable farming industry but the economy of rural areas.’’

Mr Roberts maintains that a continuing commitment is needed to match the long-term investment farmers need to make in their businesses.

“It would be disastrous to go back to the system of an annual price review when nobody knew what was happening from one year to the next.’’

He fears that the Welsh language could become a casualty of any cuts in subsidies because he believes farming has an integral role to play in preserving the language and culture.

“It is because of farming that the Welsh language is still alive,’’ Mr Roberts insists.