Farmers hold rolling road protest over tree planting for subsidies

FARMERS in Carmarthenshire have gathered together en-masse to hold a rolling protest from Carmarthen to Crosshands. Over a hundred tractors and agricultural trucks took to the road today, Friday (Feb 16) in protest over the Welsh Government’s proposal that each farm should have at least 10% tree cover as part of the Universal Actions and therefore Baseline Payment.

One farmer said: “These people are out of touch. They have no idea what the impact this will have on farming. Someone with 2,500 acres would have to lose 250 acres to trees on good agricultural land. It is hard enough in farming as it is. We are not being listened to. We have to find new ways of making a living as anything we try is squeezed out by the government.”

Another said that he and his girlfriend were considering leaving farming as they simply could not afford to put in so many hours for no return.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has said that the tree planting is designed to tackle climate change. Farming unions say the scheme just does not work. If the plans are approved farmers will have to plant trees on 10% of their land in exchange for subsidies. Existing woodland and individual trees in fields and hedgerows count towards the 10% requirement. Eligible trees include deciduous, conifer, fruit trees and others.

The Welsh Government has a target of planting 43,000 hectares of woodland by 2030 and wants farmers to “play their part”.

Unions have also raised concerns over the target, which if implemented, could force farmers to give up land they would use to grow crops to plant trees.

Dyfed-Powys Police warned motorists of long delays on the road to and from Crosshands today.

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