BREXIT is the biggest challenge to agriculture since the Second World War, was the message of First Minister Carwyn Jones at the opening of the Royal Welsh Show 2017.

Mr Jones said: “17 Years ago I came here as a newly appointed minister.

“Since then Welsh farming has faced many challenges, foot and mouth, bovine TB and market fluctuations.

“And now, the biggest challenge of all, Brexit.

“The biggest challenge, for me, since the Second World War.”

While at the show Mr Jones, along with Welsh Rural Affairs Minister, Lesley Griffiths AM, met with Secretary of State for Rural Affairs, Michael Gove MP.

The meetings are part of preliminary talks before the UK has Brexit negotiations with the European Union.

Mr Jones added: “The voice of Welsh Government will be strong in representing Welsh farming, not just in Wales.”

“This show is fantastically successful because it has broadened its appeal but kept agriculture at its heart.

“Kept and respected original values, as while important business takes place on this showground, it is also a tremendous place to have fun.”

The feature county of the 2017 show is Carmarthenshire, so opening the show was David Gravell, a Carmarthenshire businessman, along with Arwel Jones, current Wales YFC chair from the feature county.

Show president for the year is, Brian Jones MBE, founder of Castell Howell, who believes that politicians will need as much help as possible from farmers during the departure from the European Union.

“All I know is that politicians alone cannot work this one out,” he said.

“We will have to rely on farmers and business people with common sense.”

John Davies, chair of directors at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, added: “Facing the impending withdrawal from the European Union, this will accelerate the pace of change and demands upon the industry.

“The Royal Welsh Show illustrates the worth of the wider agricultural industry, celebrating and combining all elements of food and farming in one place.

“The show forms the perfect platform for organisations and stakeholders to come together. Today we have been honoured to be able to play a role in facilitating discussions which affect the future of Welsh agriculture and the rural economy between some very influential individuals and organisations.”