Speeding towards the end of the year, and with the county office closing today (Friday) for the Christmas break (we’re open again from January 2), I thought it a good time to reflect on some of the things we have been busy with this year.

It certainly has been a turbulent year, with Brexit, funding for agriculture, the havoc caused by the weather, bovine TB and agricultural pollution remaining high on the agenda among many other farming matters.

It was a year when we made some considerable progress in our #FairFarmFunding campaign and I am pleased to say the FUW’s lobbying on not 'Barnettising' Welsh rural funding, as part of the #FairFarmFunding campaign, has been successful.

The success of the campaign was in fact recognised in the PRCA awards in London, as we were runner-up in the ‘Best Campaign in Wales’ category.

Throughout the year we have regularly met with Welsh and UK Government staff, including First Minister Carwyn Jones, our Cabinet Secretary Lesley Griffiths and Environment Minister, Hannah Blythyn, as well as Defra ministers Michael Gove and George Eustice, and Wales Office minister Alun Cairns. This is in addition to attending and giving evidence to many Welsh Assembly, UK Parliament and other committees on more occasions than ever before during a calendar year, taking every opportunity to represent the interests of our members.

Another major commitment for us this year was of course the Welsh Government’s ‘Brexit and Our Land’ consultation. We discussed it with thousands of members from all regions of Wales and all sectors, as well as others with an interest in the agricultural industry.

In our response we made it clear that the overwhelming view of our members was that any major changes, as proposed in the consultation, to rural policies should be informed by knowledge and considered analysis of the post Brexit economic landscape and trading environment.

We also called for detailed and thorough analysis, modelling and piloting to investigate likely impacts of policies on individual farm businesses, sectors, regions and those involved in upstream and downstream agricultural supply chains.

Given the responses we had from members, we made it clear that you - the FUW’s members - rejected the proposals put forward by the Welsh Government.

With this in mind, please rest assured that in the coming year the FUW will continue to be at the forefront of the fight to protect the interests of Wales’ farming families and rural communities.

On a final note before Christmas day comes around - I would like to thank all of our staff and officials for their continued effort and hard work throughout the year and each and every one of our members, who through their membership and support, contribute to a stronger, more successful voice for Wales’ agricultural industry.

Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2019 to you all.