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It’s not the cow, it’s the how_ Why we need to tackle mixed messages about meat and climate change.pdf

It’s not the cow, it’s the how: Why we need to tackle mixed messages about meat and climate change

19 Aug 2021 3 minutes Read

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Picture by Osian Hedd Harries

Catherine Smith, Chair of Hybu Cig Cymru

In a recent article on Nation.Cymru, Keith Darlington puts forward the view that government-induced dietary change is a way to tackle our climate emergency.

His diagnosis of the problem, however, rests on a flawed interpretation of the role of methane and livestock agriculture.

To start on where we agree. Climate change is an urgent problem for humanity, and the recent IPCC report is a stark warning of the consequences of inaction to curb man-made emissions. All sectors and all countries need to play their part.

Methane is an important climate gas. However, in pointing the finger at agriculture Keith Darlington’s article makes assertions which are wide of the mark.

The statement that methane “is mainly produced from animal farming” is incorrect. Of the human-induced sources of methane, the data generally places livestock agriculture at around a quarter of emissions.

Bousquet’s analysis estimates that livestock farming produces 27% of anthropogenic methane. The fossil fuel sector is responsible for 33%, gases from landfill 16% and – importantly from the point of view of debates about diet – rice production accounts for 9% of the total. Figures from the International Energy Agency tell a similar story.

The IPCC report is clear – methane is important, but we have to be more careful and accurate in how we measure it.

Carbon dioxide takes centuries to degrade in the atmosphere, so burning fossil fuels adds to the stock of the gas. Methane however is a flow gas which degrades quickly and, if in proper balance, is part of a naturally-occurring cycle.

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Informed

It’s also vital to consider the vast differences between systems of livestock production across the world.

Intensive agriculture with increasing livestock numbers as practiced in some countries is indeed a serious methane problem.

But this is not the Welsh way of farming. Here, our numerically-stable flocks and herds produce high-quality protein efficiently from land which is unsuitable for other types of food production, using what we have in abundance – grass and rainwater. We do not use intensive units or make heavy use of imported feeds which may contribute to deforestation.

Recent work by Cambridge biologist Donald Broom comparing beef production systems around the world concluded that the most sustainable systems look very much like the Welsh one.

Yes, it’s important to do more where we can, and the ‘Welsh Way’ vision offers a roadmap to do that. But farmers here already make a positive contribution through sequestering carbon in soils and hedgerows, and cutting emissions further through projects such as the Red Meat Development Programme.

Given this, a public campaign to demonise one food group makes little sense, and risks letting the biggest industrial carbon emitters off the hook. Our average red meat consumption is in line with government health guidelines; a blanket message to reduce it could add to health problems that we see in some groups in society who consume too little iron, zinc and other essential minerals.

Instead, consumers can be encouraged to make more informed choices about how and where their food is produced.

As the saying goes, “it’s not the cow, it’s the how”.

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Whitebrook list
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Hello,

Please find attached this week's availability for Farmers Market.

If possible please could you let us have your orders by Thursday evening.

Best Wishes,

Paul, Frances, Alison and Lucy

Black Welsh Lamb
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Long term risks to Welsh farmers from Australia trade deal are ‘unknown’, says report

04 Aug 2021  Nation Cymru

The long term risks to Welsh farmers from a trade deal between the UK and Australia are “unknown”, according to a new report.

The Welsh Affairs Committee has delivered its initial verdict on the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and under the terms of the deal Australian farmers are granted zero-tariff and zero-quota access to the UK market.

It is feared that imports of Australian lamb and beef will land hardest in rural areas such as Welsh hill farms, and impact Welsh speaking heartlands, however the Westminster committee says this unlikely to impact Welsh farmers in the short term.

It argues, while under the FTA more of these imports will be tariff-free, this is unlikely to result in a competitive disadvantage for Wales in the short-term, because Australia has more profitable markets “closer to home”.

But it says the longer-term risks are unknown and the Committee urges the UK Government to set out the conditions which would need to be met for the agricultural safeguards for red meat imports to take effect.

The Committee has also called for the UK and Welsh governments to work with the agri-food sector to ensure that UK producers have the skills and support needed to compete a new global trading environment. This would include a significant increase in the number of Agriculture and Food counsellors based overseas.

While the Committee is satisfied with the level of engagement between the UK and Welsh Governments in the consultation phase. This is despite the Welsh Government not getting the text of draft treaties before publication. The report recommends that the draft treaty text is shared with the Welsh Government.

It says this is to enable the Welsh Government to feedback the local and regional impacts, and to develop its own impact assessment covering the short-term impacts and impacts by sector.

While the Committee welcomes the UK Government’s commitment to include the impact on Wales in the deal’s impact assessment, it reiterates the call made in its Brexit and Trade report for substantive Wales-specific impact assessments to be produced for this and future FTAs.

The Committee is also concerned that the statutory Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC) – responsible for scrutinising any agreement in terms of animal welfare and environmental conditions – is not yet operational. It says the TAC should be established as soon as possible, and for future FTAs, the TAC’s report should be published alongside the final FTA.

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‘Crucial’ 

Chair of the Welsh Affairs Committee, Rt Hon Stephen Crabb MP, said: “Many will be looking to the deal struck between the UK and Australia to indicate what is to come with future FTAs, so it is crucial that the Government gets it right.

“On the whole, our Committee has been pleased with the level of communication between the UK and Welsh Governments as the FTA develops.

“However, as there are currently no plans for a Wales specific impact assessment, the impact of local and regional areas could be overlooked. We urge the UK Government to share the draft treaty text with the Welsh Government so this can be properly explored.

”Following Brexit, there is an enormous amount of uncertainty for Welsh farmers. We are reassured that in the short term, the UK-Australia FTA is unlikely to be damaging to Welsh farmers.

“However, it is clear that the UK and Welsh governments need to work with the sector to make sure that they can survive and thrive as part of our new trading arrangements and make the most of the opportunities that trade deals offer Welsh producers.”

The Welsh Affairs Committee’s recommendations are:

  • The Welsh Government should have access to the draft treaty text prior to publication. This would enable the Welsh Government to provide feedback on regional and local impacts to inform the UK Government’s impact assessment and to produce its own impact assessment.
  • The UK Government should publish a Wales-specific impact assessment for free trade agreements (FTAs), including the UK-Australia FTA. This should provide more detail than the impact assessment for the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) did, and include short-term impacts and impacts by sector in Wales.
  • The UK Government should clarify what conditions would need to be met for agricultural safeguards to be applied in years 10-15 after the agreement comes into force. In response to this report, the UK Government should also explain how it intends to work with the Welsh Government to ensure that its wider trade strategy is coherent with ambitions to make farming more productive and sustainable.
  • To improve scrutiny of future FTAs, the Trade and Agriculture Commission’s report should be published alongside the final text, impact assessment and explanatory memorandum.
  • On establishing the statutory TAC, the UK Government should publish a statement clearly outlining the role of the TAC and the role that the TAC will play in feeding into Parliamentary scrutiny of FTAs.
  • The TAC must include at least one member who understands and has direct experience of the agricultural and regulatory landscape of Wales.
  • However, in order to maximise opportunities for Welsh farmers to export their goods and access new markets, the UK should significantly increase the number of Agriculture and Food
  • Counsellors based overseas, particularly in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions.

NEWS

Wales being worst hit by post Brexit losses of EU funding, research shows

15 Aug 2021 by Tom Law

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Boris Johnson delivering his levelling up speech

Wales is being hardest hit by the post Brexit loss of EU Structural Funds, latest figures have shown.

The £373 million lost by Wales is more than double that of Scotland (£125m) and most of the English regions that have previously received European Union support.

Labour say the figures, which show more than £1 billion lost, ‘make a mockery’ of the UK Government’s claims to be ‘levelling up’ the UK.

Steve Reed, Labour’s shadow communities secretary, said: “This research makes a mockery of the Conservatives’ pledge to fix the gigantic regional inequalities they have created.

“Not only is the government failing to fulfill its promise to match what these regions have lost, it is making them bid against each other for what little funding there is, prioritising rich areas over poorer ones.”

The analysis shows the biggest losers in England to be Midlands (£190m), Yorkshire (£143m), Cornwall (£95m), the north-west (£88m) and the north east (£80m).

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Losses

The EU Structural Fund ended in December 2020 with Wales no longer receiving an annual sum of £373m in economic aid.

The UK Government has pledged to replace the amount lost with a Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) but has yet to provide clear details about how this will work.

In the meantime, £220m funds are being provided by a Community Renewal Fund but this covers all of the UK nations with Wales expecting to receive around £10m.

In a recent interview, First Minister Carwyn Jones said Welsh voters had been promised in 2016 that, “Wales would not be a penny worse off as a result of Brexit.”

He said: “Sadly that is turning out to be absolutely not the case. Wales will be many, many millions of pounds worse off next year as a result of Brexit because the UK Government simply isn’t delivering on that promise.”

‘Levelling up’

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered his ‘levelling up’ speech in July in which he admitted that the UK had a ‘glaring imbalance’ in its economy.

He said: “It is an astonishing fact that 31 years after German unification, the per capita GDP of the North East of our country, Yorkshire, the East Midlands, Wales and Northern Ireland is now lower than in what was formerly East Germany – and I remember going to former East Germany in 1990, just after the wall had gone down.”

While highlighting the problem, his speech was criticised for failing to provide any practical solutions.

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Monmouth Festival
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The Monmouth Climate Future Festival aims to raise awareness of local projects designed to help each of us make changes to lower the carbon footprint of our community, be more environmentally aware and have fun too! It’s town-based and free-to-enter and exhibit.

Buying our food and drink locally has a significant role to play in reducing food miles and our own carbon footprint. 

Farmers' Markets starting appearing in the late 1990s as a response to Agenda 21 with recommendations to local authorities to encourage, amongst other things, the development of local supply chains.

Whilst Farmers' Markets are specifically designed to address this they are by no means the only way available for customers looking to shop for locally produced food and drink. The aim of the Festival Farmers' Market is to celebrate and introduce to a wide audience what Monmouth has to offer from its local suppliers e.g.

  • producers
  • farmers
  • brewers
  • distillers
  • farm shops
  • independent shops,
  • and any that offer locally produced food and drink.  

The market provides an opportunity to promote your business, sell products and offer your own products as refreshments.

The market is to be located in the Old Monmouth Bridge, NP25 3EG,  and takes place on Saturday 25th September from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm.

The following local enterprises have booked the attend 

The average distance traveled to the Monnow Bridge by all those taking part is just 16.73 km 

 

 

NEWS from Nation Cymru

11 Aug 2021 

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Photo by Andreas Göllner from Pixabay

Alex Seabrook, local democracy reporter

A poultry farmer in the Vale of Glamorgan has been fined more than £5,000 for “filthy conditions” and wrongly labelling chicken as free range.

Martyn David, aged 55, of Forge Cottage, ran Picketston Meats from a farm near St Athan – but has now been banned from producing poultry commercially for five years.

Food inspectors found his food processing and slaughter rooms and equipment were dirty and covered in blood.

He pleaded guilty on July 23 to offices under laws on poor hygiene and false descriptions of food. He was ordered to pay a total fine of £5,640, according to the court.

The problems were found by inspectors from Shared Regulatory Services (SRS), which brought the case at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court. SRS works on behalf of Vale of Glamorgan, Cardiff and Bridgend councils in environmental health, trading standards and licensing.

Councillor Michael Michael, chair of the SRS joint committee, said: “Mr David was capitalising on the demand for locally produced free-range food, but was not implementing the systems to run a safe food business.

“It is fundamental that businesses think about what they are doing, how they do it safely and not mislead the public. SRS officers work hard to ensure compliance within food businesses across Bridgend, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.

“Prosecution is usually the final resort after the offer of advice and guidance. This case demonstrates, despite officers’ best efforts, some businesses fail to adhere to food safety laws and therefore put public health at risk.”

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Filthy conditions

In February and March last year, SRS inspectors found poultry for slaughter in filthy conditions. They also found food not protected from contamination, and animal carcasses not appropriately stored or disposed of.

Mr David chose to close his business and then work with SRS to improve conditions. But in October inspectors again found problems including a lack of information tracing where food came from. Chicken was also falsely labelled as slaughtered and processed on his farm.

Cllr Eddie Williams, Vale council cabinet member for legal, regulatory and planning services, said: “This is an example of an individual showing little regard for either food safety or the need to accurately describe produce.

“Food law controls are in place to keep people safe and not abiding by them can have serious consequences for the individuals that consume such products. It is also important that food is labelled correctly so the public can be clear about exactly what they are buying.

“Mr David has consistently failed to meet these requirements and that will not be tolerated. I hope this case sends a message to others thinking of flouting food legislation. Our officers are thorough in ensuring standards are met and we will not hesitate to take action against anyone found to be breaking the rules.”

No contact details were found for Picketston Meats for comment. Advice on running food businesses and complying with hygiene rules can be found on the SRS website.

Mr David was charged with contravening or failing to comply with food hygiene and food safety regulations; engaging in misleading advertising; and selling food not of the substance or quality demanded by the purchaser.

 

Newport Market
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'End of an era': Newport market stalls pack up ahead of new development

Most stallholders prepare to leave as 19th-century market is transformed into a multi-million-pound centre  ...read more

 

 

Latest News

hello. 

It has been a while since I have made time to type an email .  Lots has happened we all know but let's not dwell on the past but on the here and now.  Markets are up and running almost normally now - it is good to meet up with our customers again and exchange news and views !

We are now regulars again at Roath and Rhiwbina but have sadly had to give up Caerphilly and Porthcawl.  We can only stretch ourselves so far !

At last, we have a taste of summer - sunshine and warmth to get that grass growing.  It has been a very late spring at Penrhiw - the altitude factor really came into play this year - there is a lot more grass on Cefn Coed / Fforest with lots of silage already made at Gelli Farm - home of the Raw Milk.   It will be several weeks yet before we can even think of hay making on Penrhiw.   Lambing and calving is done and dusted for the moment - the next big sheep job is shearing.  We have a new bull "Easty" who has been introduced to some heifers and will join the main herd soon.  Sadly Nando did not stay here long - he gave us too much grief at calving time with some very big calves.  We had too many sleepless nights.  

Enjoy the summer - we'll try to make the updates more regular 

The Penrhiw Teamhello. It has been a while since I have made time to type an email .  Lots has happened we all know but let's not dwell on the past but on the here and now.  Markets are up and running almost normally now - it is good to meet up with our customers again and exchange news and views !

We are now regulars again at Roath and Rhiwbina but have sadly had to give up Caerphilly and Porthcawl.  We can only stretch ourselves so far !

At last, we have a taste of summer - sunshine and warmth to get that grass growing.  It has been a very late spring at Penrhiw - the altitude factor really came into play this year - there is a lot more grass on Cefn Coed / Fforest with lots of silage already made at Gelli Farm - home of the Raw Milk.   It will be several weeks yet before we can even think of hay making on Penrhiw.   Lambing and calving is done and dusted for the moment - the next big sheep job is shearing.  We have a new bull "Easty" who has been introduced to some heifers and will join the main herd soon.  Sadly Nando did not stay here long - he gave us too much grief at calving time with some very big calves.  We had too many sleepless nights.  

Enjoy the summer - we'll try to make the updates more regular 

The Penrhiw Team

Welsh Lams
lambs.jpg

Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash

UK Gov split on Australia trade deal that could hammer Welsh farmers ...more

 

 

 

 

Brexit could transform Wales from sheep farms to forest.pdf

The Welsh countryside may see a major increase in forest cover within a decade due to the effect of Brexit on sheep farming, new research suggests...... see University of Reading