THE announcement by the Welsh Assembly that Powys would be split for foot-and-mouth disease control purposes has been welcomed by farmers.

North Powys will be designated as at-risk and the south, which has seen more recent cases of the disease, remains high risk.

The National Farmers' Union points out that the new classification only applies to cattle and pigs while sheep in the area are still being blood-tested.

Hugh Richards, Welsh NFU president, said that although the priority was to eradicate the disease, farmers could not be allowed to be driven out of business in the process.

"With normal trading unable to take place, fair compensation rates must be available," he said.