WITH springtime now upon us, with the weather getting finer and days getting longer, I'd like to remind the public to enjoy the countryside, but enjoy it safely.
Our Welsh countryside is working land where animals graze in close proximity to walkers, which is why it's such a pleasure for people to walk in, sometimes accompanied by pet dogs.
Most dog owners are responsible and keep their pets under control, however farmers do sometimes report instances of sheep worrying in the locality — which is now of course causing even greater concern to local farmers as the lambing season gets under way.
Walkers need to be aware of the risk unleashed dogs pose to sheep and lambs.
They can chase, attack, maim and kill.
For some time NFU Cymru has been producing dog warning signs in Welsh and English for farmers who keep livestock in fields that have public rights of way running through them.
Walkers will see the yellow and black signs reminding them that dogs can harm or scare farm animals.
The signs, which have been produced by NFU Cymru for its farmer members, give a clear reminder to walkers using public footpaths to keep dogs on leads but — importantly — to let them go if they're being chased or feel threatened by cattle.
The signs read: 'Your dog can scare or harm farm animals — Keep it on a lead around livestock, but let go if chased by cattle.'
These durable signs can be placed on fences and posts and can be obtained free of charge for NFU Cymru members by calling NFU CallFirst on 0870 8458458 or by contacting your local NFU Cymru office.
Moving onto other issues and Carmarthenshire farmers are to get an opportunity to channel their views on Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Reform at the next NFU Cymru county meeting on Tuesday at the Halfway Inn, Nantgaredig.
Starting at 7.30pm we will be seeking local members' views regarding the Welsh Government's latest consultation on proposals for CAP Reform with particular focus on the provision of a more detailed analysis by Welsh Government on the impact of differential payment rates based on different classifications of land.
CAP reform is the most important legislation that will affect the way we farm for many years to come.
This is a perfect opportunity for the farming industry to input views on an issue that will impact almost every farming business in Wales and I urge local members to come along to the meeting and make their views known.
At a Welsh level there are hugely important decisions that the Welsh Government will need to make, once it has taken industry opinion, including how we move away from our current historic basis of payment. It's important that we continue to work together to secure the best possible deal for Welsh farmers.