Newly re-elected Ceredigion MP Ben Lake has visited the headquarters of Wales-wide red meat body Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) in Llanbadarn, to receive a briefing on a range of food and farming issues.

Mr Lake asked HCC about its strategy for marketing Welsh agricultural produce over the coming year.

With sustainability rising ever higher up the agenda, the MP heard about the body’s important forthcoming UK consumer campaign to promote the positive environmental credentials of Welsh lamb and Welsh beef.

The discussion also took in potential future trade deals which the UK might look to strike with the European Union and third countries, as well as the newly-introduced Agriculture Bill.

The Bill deals directly with the future of agricultural payments in England, however it is also relevant to Wales in terms of establishing the future shared frameworks which will ensure fairness between the four nations within the UK.

The bill also addresses the long-standing unfairness in the distribution of the red meat levy, a change long championed by the Welsh Government and HCC.

This sum is paid by farmers and processors on all sheep, cattle and pigs towards marketing and research, but around £1million is lost over the border each year due to animals which are reared in Wales being processed in England.

Ben Lake MP said: “The introduction of the UK Agriculture Bill marks the beginning of an important few months of discussions at Westminster, during which it will be crucial that a new approach to pan-UK frameworks is agreed that ensures fairness between the four nations when it comes to matter of both funding and governance.

“It was helpful to meet with HCC to better understand the industry’s concerns in this regard, and also to discuss future trading arrangements - and in particular the importance of maintaining a level playing field in terms of the standards of agricultural imports if Welsh farmers are not to lose out in any trade deals.”