THERE has been a mixed response to the Welsh Government's latest move to relieve pressure on farmers hard hit by the weather and high feed prices.

Cabinet secretary Lesley Griffiths has announced she is expecting approximately 90 per cent of farm businesses in Wales to receive their BPS payments on day one of the BPS payment window (December 1).

The remaining approximate 10 per cent of farm businesses (where the BPS claims are yet to be validated) will be able to apply for a loan payment of 70 per cent of their anticipated BPS 2018 claim value.

The Welsh Government will also work closely with the farming charities, to decide how best to support their work.

In order to help address immediate financial difficulties, Welsh Government will be making a donation of £500,000 to help provide short-term support to those families in Wales who are least able to meet living costs.

The FUW said the moves suggested the Welsh Government was out of touch with the implications for farmers of the severe weather experienced over the past 12 months.

FUW president Glyn Roberts said: “Ironically, Scottish Labour criticised the Scottish Government for being slow to confirm loans would be available in October for farmers unable to afford to buy fodder and feed following a disastrous harvest – and for not going far enough.

“Yet in Wales, where Labour are in power, the Welsh Government propose going nowhere near as far as what is proposed in Scotland.”

Mr Roberts said that he was concerned that the release of early loans and payments in other parts of the UK and the EU would lead to desperately needed fodder and bedding being taken off the UK market from October and possibly even stockpiled while Welsh farmers would be left waiting for payments and therefore unable to compete.

“Given the disastrous harvest here in Wales and across the EU, there is a real risk that by the time Welsh payments or loans become available, earlier payments or loans in other countries will have removed vital fodder from the market and driven up prices," he said.

Meanwhile NFU Cymru welcomed the announcement.

NFU Cymru president John Davies said: “During the dry weather summit, NFU Cymru put forward a number of key asks on behalf of our membership.

"We are pleased that a number of these asks have already been put in place, including derogations to Glastir obligations. However, today’s measures add another level of support and a degree of certainty that will assist farmers in planning for the winter ahead, following what has been an exceptionally challenging time for the industry."

NFU Cymru has re-opened its Fodder Bank on the NFU Cymru website and continues to work with colleagues across the UK in the arable sector to ensure the industry is working together to alleviate the shortages in fodder that will undoubtedly be experienced this winter.