Farmers held a convoy in Carmarthen town centre on Thursday, February 21 to protest changes to farming subsidies

A large number of vehicles took to the streets with placards saying ‘enough is enough’ and ‘no farmers, no food, no future’.

It was a demonstration against the subsidy policy that the Welsh Government plans to bring in next year, whereby farmers would have to turn over 10 per cent of their land to plant trees and a further 10 per cent to wildlife habitat.

The Welsh Government’s proposed Sustainable Farming Scheme has been deemed by unions to be “unworkable”, involving red tape and paperwork, and putting many jobs at risk.

Adding fuel to the fire is the accusation that Mark Drakeford had mocked farmers contemptuously during a visit to Rhyl, where local newspaper footage appears to show the Welsh First Minister, when asked if it was “nice to get past the tractors,” reply: “nothing better to do, apparently.”

Slogans expressed anger at the Welsh First Minister for his alleged contempt for farmers.
Slogans expressed anger at the Welsh First Minister for his alleged contempt for farmers. (Observer pic.)

A similar protest took place in Aberystwyth, where convoys from Bow Street, Lovesgrove, Tregaron and Devil’s Bridge arrived in Aberystwyth in tractors and other farm vehicles to protest outside the town’s Welsh Government building. Other drivers could be heard beeping their horns in support of the farmers.

The protests follow similar demonstrations last Friday when over 200 tractors held up traffic on the A48 from Carmarthen to Pont Abraham.

Farmers across Wales have been protesting over the planned changes to farming subsidies. A mass protest is expected outside the Senedd on Wednesday, February 28.

When challenged by the Welsh Lib Dem leader Jane Dodds MS over the possible mental strain caused to farmers, the First Minister responded by saying that “change is absolutely inevitable”.

When Jane Dodds mentioned how one farmer told had her they “simply wanted to farm”, Mr Drakeford replied: “the future isn’t like that, it isn’t going to be where people can do what they have always done.”

Commenting in the Senedd, the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said: ““I am yet to meet a farmer who hasn’t accepted the role they will have to play when it comes to combating climate change.

“Rather than meaningfully acknowledge the strain and concerns of farmers, the First Minister has chosen instead to reiterate comments that have stoked so much tension over recent days.“

“Mark Drakeford’s needlessly harsh response of ‘change is absolutely inevitable’… [slams] the door shut on farmers and their concerns.”