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Farmers set for post-EU talks

Created on 04/07/2016 @ 08:24
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The local farming industry will be paying close attention to Cardiff Bay today where the first talks are being held to map out a post EU Wales.

According to the BBC, leading environment and agriculture figures will discuss their priorities with the first minister following the UK's decision to leave the EU.

Carwyn Jones, as well as Rural Affairs Secretary Lesley Griffiths, will meet farming union leaders, rural business owners and environmental bodies.

Mr Jones said securing the future of grant funding for farmers was "one of the most immediate concerns".

Vote Leave campaigners argued the Welsh and UK governments would design a new payments system for agriculture to replace EU subsidies.

The future of trade with the EU, rules and regulations and environmental protections, will also be up for discussion at today's meeting.

The Welsh Government said it was a chance for ministers to listen to people's concerns.

In 2014, £240m was given to Welsh farmers in direct payments alone. Half made a loss, or would have done so that year, without them.

Between 2014 and 2020, £957m is meant to be made available via the Rural Development Programme - a system of grants and loans to support rural communities.

Country Land and Business Association Cymru director Rebecca Williams said the first priority should be "to establish a world-leading agricultural policy" and to ensure the sector played the "appropriate leading role in the critical trade negotiations that lie ahead".

She added: "We are looking for reassurances that maintaining and nurturing existing markets and opening new opportunities for agriculture will be government priorities."

Stephen James, president of NFU Cymru, said it was important politicians and those in the rural affairs sector worked together as the two years available to the UK to plan its exit from the EU would "pass very quickly".


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