Kaleb Cooper supports Welsh farmers following recent protests

The Clarkson’s Farm star, Kaleb Cooper, has shown support for farmers protesting against the Welsh environmental scheme.

Image © Plank PR.

The 25-year-old farming contractor from Oxfordshire is backing his colleagues from Wales, who have been hosting demonstrations to showcase their dissatisfaction with the plans for the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS). 

He posted on Instagram: “To all Welsh farmers who are protesting we all stand with you! No farmers no food.” 

Kaleb’s farming colleague, Jeremy Clarkson, also commented on the scheme proposal, calling it “completely daft”. His post reads:

Unequal access

The scheme is set to take effect in 2025, replacing European Union payments that had been worth over £300 million a year to Welsh farms. Agricultural landowners are asked to dedicate 10% of their land to natural habitat and another 10% to tree planting in exchange for financial support. 

According to the Welsh Government, SFS aims to “keep farmers farming” and “safeguard the environment”.  Welsh farmers, however, raised their concerns and said that SFS does not provide equal access for farmers who do not own the land that they farm. 

READ MORE: Everything we know about farming schemes in 2024

Farmers on streets

On Monday, 12th February, 20 tractors and 15 pick-up trucks parked outside rural affairs minister Lesley Griffiths’ in Wrexham in protest against the SFS. They continued their protest on Friday, 16th February, with 80 tractors slowly driving on one of the main routes in west Wales. 

On Wednesday 21st February, Welsh farmers turned up at Coleg Llandrillo’s Rhyl campus, where First Minister Mark Drakeford was visiting. The demonstration was followed by a go-slow protest again yesterday (22nd February). Farmers drove their tractors in Old Colwyn, past Ysgol Bryn Elian. 

Dyfed-Powys Police posted on Facebook that officers are aware of potential disruption to traffic in Carmarthen and Aberystwyth town centres due to farmers protest.

They added: “The traffic network in and out of the towns may also be affected. If you are planning on travelling in those areas today, please consider changing your route or journey time to avoid delays.”

Ignored and let down

CLA Cymru director Victoria Bond, photo by CLA.

A poll commissioned by the Country Land and Business Association in Wales (CLA Cymru) has recently found that only 3% of farmers trust the Welsh Government. CLA Cymru director Victoria Bond said that the data is “damning evidence” which proves that rural communities feel ignored and let down by the Welsh Government.  

She added: “The next First Minister must govern for all of Wales – not just the urban and industrial parts. Rural Wales is as much a part of our national culture as our cities, steelworks and former mining communities.    

“As farmers, we work tirelessly to produce high quality food, and we are on the front line in the fight against climate change and nature decline. It is perfectly reasonable to expect the government to work with us constructively in the national interest. 

 “With a new First Minister we have the chance to hit the reset button. We know that schemes to support environmentally friendly land management practices can work when developed in a spirit of mutual respect.” 

‘By your side’

During the annual NFU Conference on Tuesday (20th February), PM Rishi Sunak outlined a package of new measures designed to boost British farming. During his speech, he recognised the value of British farmers in putting food on our tables and caring for the countryside, amid a plethora of challenges.  

He pledged never to take food security for granted and to be “by your side” as farmers face the biggest change in a generation with the ongoing transition away from basic payments. 

The PM also pledged to continue to support meat consumption, never to make it mandatory for farmers to put a percentage of their land into environmental schemes, and to ensure the full £2.4 billion annual farming budget reaches farmers. 

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