A Farmer’s Job is Growing Food, Not Trees

IT HAS been obvious to everyone for some time how little interest Welsh Labour has in the countryside, and in fact in agricultural matters in general.

But heading into Show Week in Llanelwedd, this lack of understanding and sympathy has now become more prominent than ever.

Now the NFU has announced they cannot take part in the Government’s tree planting scheme, which requires that all farms must set aside 10% of their land for tree planting from now on, in order to meet Labour’s climate change plans.

To Gwlad – the Welsh Independence Party – the policy is a further example of Labour’s contempt for the countryside and the people who live there.

Gwlad leader Gwyn Wigley Evans

“Mark Drakeford treats farmers as if they are employed by the Government – and therefore have to listen to the boss in Cardiff” said Gwlad Leader Gwyn Wigley Evans.

“The farmers themselves own their land and it is up to them to decide how to manage their land – not Mark Drakeford, who understands bugger all about agriculture” he said.

He added that Gwlad is very sympathetic to the NFU’s stance as it reflects the overwhelming view of farmers here.

“In all seriousness – what other business would be willing to give up 10% of their business potential – without any guarantee of adequate funding to make up for that?” he said.

“Would they dare to ask the WRU or FAW to give up 10% of the potential of their fields for the same purpose?”


This latest policy by Welsh Labour and their renewed enthusiasm for planting trees also seem at odds with their own recent policy.

Given that they have cut down 4 million trees in recent years in Wales to build wind turbines everywhere.

With even larger wind turbines on their way; and a major Scottish company – Bute Energy – preparing to take advantage of the destruction of communities across Wales.

Better News

There was a very positive news story at this week’s show with news that Welsh food and drink sector exports to the European Union were worth £549 million in 2022.

An increase of almost 25% on the 2021 figures.

This sector has a lot of room to grow again in the future, but with the agriculture sector as a key part of it.

Having a government that supports agriculture and supports the countryside would make that task so much easier.

One thought on “A Farmer’s Job is Growing Food, Not Trees

  1. “In all seriousness – what other business would be willing to give up 10% of their business potential – without any guarantee of adequate funding to make up for that?”

    Government sets environmental standards for businesses across several sectors of the economy (e.g., vehicle emission standards, oil & natural gas certification etc). Should the cost of meeting these standards/certifications be wholly subsidised by the taxpayer? That is a matter of debate.

    A more constructive criticism is that the policy applies a blanket 10% target to all farms, regardless of local environmental & ecological conditions. This could lead to the planting of trees in locations that are not suitable, as happened in the past when conifers were planted on peat bogs.

    There are some other important questions:
    1.) What type of trees are to be planted? Are we going to see more conifer plantations comprised of non-native species such as Sitka spruce? 2.) How are these forests going to be managed? Are we going to use traditional 40 year rotations with clearfelling or continuous cover forestry?
    3.) How are farmers going to be vetted to ensure that they are meeting the 10% target? Ground surveys and up-to-date aerial photography and lidar data would likely be required to survey each farm at a national scale. This will require additional financial resources and expertise/training to analyse the data. Who pays for all of this (taxpayers or individual farmers)?

    The Welsh Government needs to stop virtue-signalling by saying its going to increase forest coverage by 10%. The WG has a long history of setting targets that are never met in reality because they: (a) fail to engage with land owners, and (b) underestimate the local complexities when their policies are implemented on the ground.

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