MONTGOMERYSHIRE farmer and president of the Farmers Union of Wales (FUW) Gareth Vaughan is to step down in June after eight years in the post.

Mr Vaughan, who farms in Dolfor near Newtown, was awarded an MBE in the New Year's honours list for services to agriculture.

“I decided I will have done eight years,” he told the County Times. “It has been very very enjoyable, although hard at times.

“I’ll be 70 on my next birthday and I decided it was time to look for something a little lighter to do.  We’re lucky to have so many young members of the FUW and it’s time to hand over to them.”

Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies said Mr Vaughan, 69, was a great champion of farming and of the FUW.

“He will be sorely missed as president and someone will have some big farmer's boots to fill,” said the MP.

There have been some challenges over the past eight years, Mr Vaughan added, especially the two bouts of foot and mouth in 2001 and 2007.

“Animal health has been the primary issue. A recurring problem with TB has meant we have been slaughtering cattle like there is no tomorrow, but doing nothing about the disease in wildlife.

“To grapple the problem in wildlife would be better for the badgers in the long term.
“In terms of our greatest achievements, we have moved from being a Union whose finances were dealt with by one insurance company, to being a broker with 20 insurance companies to hand for our customers.”

There are some major concerns on the horizon for 2011, Mr Vaughan said.
“2011 will be spent fighting for a fair deal for Welsh farmers, and making the Glastir scheme into something that is practical,” he said.

Mr Vaughan has been a member of the union for about 25 years, and will step down as president at its annual meeting in June.

He said he is looking forward to spending more time with his family.

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