Meurig Raymond farms 3,400 acres in Pembrokeshire in partnership with his twin brother, eldest son and nephew. The farm grows 2,200 acres of combinable crops and 300 acres of potatoes. There are 620 dairy cows, with 300 followers. The farm also has 600 head of beef cattle and around 2,500 store lambs, fattened during winter.
Meurig, born in 1952, was elected local branch Chairman of the NFU in 1979 and Pembrokeshire County Chairman in 1989. He served as Vice-Chairman of the NFU's Cereals Committee between 1999 and 2001 and served on the Agricultural Wages Board for six years from 1998. He was elected as Vice President of the NFU in 2004, became Deputy President in 2006 and President in 2014.
Meurig represented Wales on the Home Grown Cereals Authority between 1997 and 2004 and he served on the Council of Food from Britain between 1997and 2003. He became a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society in 2000 and was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours in January 2005 for his services to agriculture.
He is married to Hilary and they have three grown up children. His eldest son Paul is involved in the family farming business. Nicola is CEO of South Australia Lucerne Growers in Adelaide, and assistant to the Director Nuffield, Australia, and Jonathan is an investment manager with Quilter Cheviot in London.
Farmers worldwide need to invest in making our industry more resilient to weather disruption if we are to feed a growing population with divergent tastes. We need a fair share of access to water resources, as well as better protection of agricultural land from flooding.
The headline figure is that we only provide 62% of the country's food supply. And this is set to get worse. The UK is on course to become the most populous country in the European Union - an estimated 77million people by 2040 - and official figures suggest our ability to feed ourselves will drop to just 53% by then. So, my message today is: it is time to Back British Farming.
The next few months will see the closest fought election in a generation. Already the economy, welfare, health and education have been occupying headline space as some of the most important issues which affect people and therefore their vote. But where is food in this debate? More importantly, where is safe, secure, traceable British food?
It is undoubtedly a very frustrating and worrying time for British dairy farmers. Milk prices are plummeting. With increased milk supply around the world and demand not increasing at the same pace, huge pressure has been put on milk values. For some it means they are now only getting around 25 pence-per-litre for their product. With the cost of production sitting much higher than this it is no wonder that many fear for the future of their farm businesses... What we also know is that it is clear that the British public want to back British farming and continue to support British dairy farmers during this difficult time.
Bovine TB continues to devastate farming family businesses in large parts of the country. I can assure you that the NFU remains totally committed firstly to stopping the spread and ultimately to eradicating this disease and recognises that this will only be achieved by using every available option.
This year there has been a slide in the proportion of food produced in the UK for British consumers. We're calling on government, the food industry and shoppers to put British farming - and feeding the nation - at the heart of their decision making. We're now just 60% self sufficient - despite British farmers being geared up to produce more, sustainably, for the long term.
World War One left its mark on most families in Britain and those who worked in farming were no exception. Our family was one of thousands that sent men to war and helped produce food for the nation. My father was in the SW Borderers Regiment fighting on the Macedonia front in 1917.
David invited us to his farm to video the tragic events unfolding. The result is an emotionally charged yet shocking video. We make no apologies for that. This is the distressing reality that farmers like David are having to face as bovine TB continues to devastate farming families across large parts of the country.
HS2 raises the prospect of an unacceptable treble hit. Firstly, essential farmland is being lost to the line; secondly, larger areas which have been highlighted for habitat creation and tree planting will take valuable food-producing land out of production. And thirdly, far more new habitat is being imposed than is being lost on a questionable 'bigger is better' principle.
More has to be done to stop bovine TB from destroying farming businesses and the livelihoods of the families that run them. And this must include dealing with the disease in badgers as well as in cattle.
15/04/2014 11:36 BST
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