Welsh Labour's leadership hopefuls visited Powys at the weekend - and were met with protests that saw nearly 100 tractors driven into Newtown.

The two candidates to take over from First Minister Mark Drakeford – Vaughan Gething and Jeremy Miles – attended a leadership debate for Labour members in Newtown but were met by dozens of farmers who are concerned about upcoming proposals.

Around 100 tractors flooded into town yesterday (February 18) carrying the banners “no farmers, no food, no future” in relation to the proposals in the Welsh Government's sustainable farming scheme.

The controversial plans would see farmers have to give up a fifth of their land to non-farming activities.

This would involve 10 per cent of their land being used for planting trees and a further 10 per cent being put aside for re-wilding projects.

READ MORE: Hundreds of furious farmers in Welshpool consider protesting in Cardiff

However farmers have said that the plans could decimate the industry in Wales which has gone through severe shocks in recent years caused by the high levels of inflation.

Neither candidate addressed the crowd and reportedly left through a side entrance.


Montgomeryshire MS, Russell George, joined the farmers on the protest and criticised the candidates for not engaging with the protest.

“I was disappointed that the candidates did not come out to speak to the hundreds of farmers waiting,” said Mr George.

“It was encouraging that the police praised those that attended for cooperating and making their points peacefully.

“This issue cuts deep across the country and support from those not directly involved in farming was clear to see.”

The plans are currently going through a public consultation which is set to finish by early next month.

The Welsh Government has said that the proposals would help protect the environment, help tackle the climate crisis and the severe loss of biodiversity – while ensuring a stable supply of food.

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A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Working in partnership with the farming sector is key. That is why the Sustainable Farming Scheme has been jointly developed with farmers.

“The scheme is currently out for consultation and we would like to thank the thousands of farmers who have already responded and attended the 10 Welsh Government Roadshow sessions across Wales.

"No final decision will be taken on the scheme until after the consultation has ended and we encourage everyone to reply with their views by March 7.”

Both Mr Gething and Mr Miles have been approached for comment.