AROUND 3,000 farmers gathered in Carmarthen on Thursday night to voice opposition to Welsh Government policy plans.

Farming leaders have warned of 'huge unrest' among farmers and there is a risk of widespread protest against Welsh Government plans to change the way agriculture is funded in Wales.

The meeting in Carmarthen follows a similar event in Welshpool last week that drew 1,000 farmers together.

Carmarthen showground
3,000 farmers gathered on Thursday evening in Carmarthen (Cefin Campbell MS)

Cefin Campbell, Plaid Cymru MS for Mid & West Wales, who spoke at the meeting, said: “Enough is enough was the resounding message amidst the 3,000 heavy crowd in Carmarthen.

"The frustration our farmers and rural communities feel towards the Welsh Government and Westminster on many issues was all too clear.

"I will do my best to make sure their voice is heard in Cardiff Bay, and I would urge the Welsh Government to accept the unanimous call made by those present for a meeting, where these concerns can be discussed further".

The protest on Thursday evening in Carmarthen Showground saw a mock coffin brought into the venue, with a plaque reading 'in memory of Welsh farming' and other placards stating 'no farmers, no food'.

Speaking to the crowd, Ceredigion farmer, Wyn Evans told those present: "Believe in yourselves, you are making a difference.

"You might not think so, but you are.

"Since the meeting in Welshpool last week, the opposition parties have engaged."

His speech was met with rapturous applause.

No farmers, no food sign at Carmarthen showground (Cefin Campbell MS)

A motion was passed on the night for the meeting organiser to negotiate directly with the Welsh Government.

The unrest comes from proposed policy for the agricultural sector through the Sustainable Farming Scheme, Nitrate Vulnerable Zones and a failure to tackle bovine TB.

Under the proposals for funding through the Sustainable Farming Scheme, to be eligible for payments, farms must ensure that trees are planted on 10 per cent their land and is treated as wildlife habitat, which unions say is unworkable.

A third consultation into the proposals is currently ongoing.

An economic impact assessment published with the consultation suggests that if every farm took part it could result in a 10.8 per cent reduction in livestock numbers and an 11 per cent cut in labour on Welsh farms.

NFU Cymru said this would be the equivalent of losing 5,500 jobs.

Farmers protest
Mid and west Wales MS Cefin Campbell speaking at the protest (Cefin Campbell MS)

Responding to farming industry leaders warning of "huge unrest" over planned Welsh Government reforms, Samuel Kurtz MS, Shadow Rural Affairs Minister, said: “Had the Welsh Government taken seriously my calls to pause the SFS consultation, then changes to the proposal could have been made. Sadly, my calls, like the calls from the farmers themselves were ignored.

“The inevitably of farmers protesting is linked to the Welsh Government’s inability to listen.

“I will stand shoulder to shoulder with farmers during any protest. My message to them is only stick together, be respectful, but the Welsh Conservatives will be with you.”

Welsh government Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths said she understood it was a time of change and natural for people to feel frightened and uncertain.

"Do I think some of the proposals will have to be changed? Yes, of course I think that - there's no point having a consultation if you don't listen to it."

On the forecast job cuts, she said this was based on an earlier version of the planned scheme and would not be as stark in the final proposals.

She said: "I've always been a minister who wants to work in partnership and I hope (the industry) has been able to see that over the last few years.

"This consultation is meaningful and it's really important people put in their responses."