4 May 2018

 

The second, out of a series of meetings aimed at tackling water pollution has been held by Farming Connect in St Asaph, for farmers farming near the river Gele.

Twenty-eight waterbodies in Wales have been identified by NRW as not reaching the required standards. These meetings are part of a wider, national campaign aimed at generating an industry commitment to eliminating pollution to demonstrate the high standards and reputation of Welsh farming.

The water quality of the Gele, particularly the bacteria levels coming from farm stock, can affect the quality of the EC Bathing Water Beach at Rhyl. In order to ensure that the bathing waters along the north wales coast are clean and safe, it is the responsibility of all to address the agricultural pollution risks and ensure efficient use of farm resources, which will boost productivity of farm businesses whilst also protecting the environment.

 “The information provided at the events was very valuable, and we are delighted with the number of farmers who attended”, said Einir Williams, Farming Connect Regional Manager.  “It shows that farmers are taking the issue seriously and are committed to improving the water quality for the benefit of all”

Speaking at the event, Keith Owen, ADAS provided farmers with information and guidance on silage and slurry, storage and handling, the impact of rainwater and an overview of current legislation and future issues.

“A key message from Keith’s presentation was that small, often fairly low cost improvements, can result in major economic and environmental benefits,” Einir explained.

“For example, broken gutters or downpipes are often over-looked or ignored on farms, but a broken downpipe on a typical 100m x 60m shed could mean 180 cubic meters of rainwater reaching your slurry pit, this equates to an extra 11 trips out with a 2000 gallon vacuum tanker to dispose of what was clean rainwater.”

Those who attended the meeting learned about the ways Farming Connect can support Welsh farmers to make positive changes. The Farming Connect Advisory Service can provide 80% funding for expert, independent, confidential and bespoke advice on soil and nutrient management planning, slurry and farmyard manure management and storage and farm infrastructure. Eligible businesses registered with Farming Connect can also access 100% funding (up to a maximum of €1500) as part of a group of 3 or more.

“It is our intention to form an Agrisgôp group in the area in order to provide support to farmers on implementing new approaches to protect and improve water quality and to bring additional benefits to farm businesses” said Einir. All businesses wishing to learn more about Agrisgôp or would like to join the Agrisgôp group, should contact Farming Connect.

An additional service offered by Farming Connect are Planning Surgeries. These surgeries allow farmers to discuss their planning queries with a planning expert for up to an hour, free of charge.  This is an ideal opportunity to discuss planning issues specific to your farm and ensure that you are well informed and prepared before you approach your local planning authority.

Other Farming Connect support mechanisms include; a one-to-one mentoring service, where farmers can receive up to 22.5 hours of mentoring from another experienced farmer who has addressed issues and introduced novel solutions on their farm, the Sustainable Management Scheme support service, which provides groups of farmers with support to apply for financial support for a range of activities that will improve the management of our natural resources and EIP Wales that provides financial assistance to groups with innovative ideas on how to tackle agricultural pollution.

 

For further information on the support available from Farming Connect to tackle this important issue, click here or contact the Farming Connect Service Centre on 08456 000 813.


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