Catching up with Mared at the mart



Happy New Year to you all, hopefully this will be a kind and successful year for us all as we positively look forward to the start of another year.

It's hard to believe it's 2020! Time really does go quickly. Ladi Fach Tŷ Ni is growing and is no longer little! But the passion for farming continues! She has also developed a keen interest in going to the mart, when school holidays allow. Looking back at my own childhood, I also loved going with my father to Tregaron mart every fortnight during the summer holidays. But what is the importance of our marts today?

One who knows better than anyone is our Account Executive Mared Hopkins who looks after insurance customers in north Ceredigion, from Talybont down to Tregaron and over to Llanrhystud. A crucial element of Mared's daily work is attending the area's livestock markets, a cattle mart in Tregaron alternate Tuesdays and a sheep mart every Friday. Aberystwyth mart is monthly, with a mart held in Devil's Bridge weekly from July to December, then monthly from January to May.

Here is Mared to explain more about her work at the mart: -

How important are the area's small marts to your work?

In my area of ​​North Ceredigion, there is a livestock mart in Aberystwyth, Devil's Bridge and Tregaron. I try to attend each one within reason. I'm from a farming background so I have an interest anyway and it's a chance for me to have a chat with existing clients and welcome new customers. My background enables me to understand the anxieties associated with farming, while also being aware of the uncertainties ahead.

Often when I call to see people at home to discuss insurance etc - the subject of mart prices almost always comes up, so it's handy to know the trade. Word of mouth is key to how I have developed in my work and attending these marts has played a big part. Showing my face in a mutual place is sometimes enough, and if there is an opportunity to give advice or provide an insurance quote, I will make every effort to do so with care and attention.

Do you see a future for the marts?

These marts are full of kind rural characters of all ages, with generations before us who have farmed the area for centuries. Because of this I feel that the support for these marts is strong and that people are aware of the importance of preserving, maintaining and supporting them. The world is changing and the recent negative coverage of agriculture is encouraging people that local, sustainable produce is playing a big part in the future of farming worldwide. The biggest concern of these small marts is the price they get for their produce - we hear of falling and rising prices - farmers have no guarantee from week to week.

I often notice that many of the people who come to these marts use it as a place to meet their neighbours, discuss their work, the area's news and even their concerns – it’s part of their week. You often hear about how lonely working in agriculture is, it is important that the community has somewhere like this to attend, and make time to go, our lives are so busy most of the time and not enough hours in a day.

I very much hope that there is a future for these markets - they are a huge part of our industry for selling our local produce on the doorstep, and above all another tradition we don't want to lose in the countryside. The world is changing very fast and as we know - once you lose something it is very hard to get back.

Mared refers to Devil's Bridge mart, which is a fine example of a mart, albeit relatively small in size, which has been at the heart of the agricultural community for over a hundred years. The importance of the marts is invaluable to farmers, and the local area, a great example of #FarmingMatters!

Important theme of Ceri's poem

Looking out through the window of the Corner Clecs office, the leaves have now gradually changed to the autumnal colours and although we are now in November, surprisingly the leaves are holding on to the trees. Aside from nature’s signs that winter is upon us, there are also other events such as the Winter Fair imminent as a reminder that the end of another year is fast approaching.

The YFC is also busy at this time of year with each county in turn holding its county eisteddfod. It was lovely to hear that one of our staff won one of the main competitions at this year's Carmarthenshire YFC Eisteddfod held at St Peter's Hall, Carmarthen in mid-October. Ceri Davies, our Policy Officer, won the Chair for her poem under the topic 'Voice'. Cornel Clecs had the opportunity to question Ceri about her success:

Are we entering the End-Game?

by Glyn Roberts, FUW President

It’s October and it’s the month that the Prime Minister has said that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union “Do or Die”. That would suggest that for many people we are now entering the so called end-game of our time in the Union. But are we really?

There is a great deal of effort from many sides and sources being put into delaying, postponing, stopping or aborting Brexit in its entirety. And for varying reasons.

Who is the Cardi in the Cabinet?

One of the most prominent figures in the political world, the longest-serving Welshman at Westminster has just published his autobiography. Lord John Morris is the Cardi in the Cabinet which is also the name of the new book recently published by Y Lolfa.

This is a snapshot of 60 years in the political world, but before he became a familiar face in Westminster, his roots were deep in rural Ceredigion, born and raised, as one of seven children on two farms on the outskirts of Aberystwyth, of which he is proud. But he was seen as the black sheep of the family because he decided to pursue a career as a lawyer rather than become a farmer.

But agriculture was not far from his mind when he was appointed solicitor and deputy secretary general of the Farmers’ Union of Wales between 1956 and 1958, which of course had just been formed. Here is an extract from the autobiography that explains more: -

A Fantastic Week

by Glyn Roberts, FUW President

The Eisteddfod is an important event in the Welsh calendar, and it is great to have an opportunity at the Eisteddfod every year to meet members, local staff and those who are not involved in agriculture. A unique opportunity for us as a union to discuss with individuals and other organiaations about the state of agriculture, and the importance of the industry to Welsh culture, the Welsh language and the Welsh economy.

Discussing the future of our rural communities

by Alun Edwards, Meirionnydd Representative on the FUW Education and Training and Hill Farming and Marginal Land Committee

There has never been a more important time for the agricultural sector to strategically ally, by standing up to their critics and get their point accross. So I was very happy to receive an invitation from Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg to join a discussion panel on the future of our rural communities at the Llanrwst  National Eisteddfod.

Joining me on the panel were FUW President Glyn Roberts and Non Gwenllian Williams, who is studying agricultural policy for a Ph.D. at Bangor University, and who is a very prominent member of Anglesey YFC. The debate was chaired by a former State veterinarian, and leading anti-nuclear activist, Robat Idris, as vice chairman of the Gymdeithas's rural community group.

Introducing Heusor o Gwm Eidda

Glyn Roberts. Glyn Dylasau. Glyn FUW President. And now Heusor o Gwm Eidda. This year's Conwy County National Eisteddfod was one to remember for our President as he was honoured with the blue robe by the Gorsedd of Bards. This is an honour for those who have given outstanding service to their local community or nation. After an extremely busy week at the Eisteddfod, Cornel Clecs caught up with Glyn to ask him about his experience with the Gorsedd:

What is your bardic name?

My first reaction was to keep it simple and use Glyn Dylasau, but as I felt this was one of the greatest honours for a Welsh person to receive, I had to think more imaginatively. You have to appreciate when you work with people that they influence you, and what went through my mind was what Nick always says, which is that everything has to be proportional. At one point I thought of using my full name in Welsh, William Glyn Roberts and adopting Gwilym Glyn ap Sion.   I inhereted the William after my grandfather and today one of my grandchildren is Gwilym and Gwilym Glyn ap Sion would have included four generations, but I was looking for a name that conveyed the importance of keeping the country pure rather than a more personal one, and after much thought, a name was finally found after being asked twice by the Eisteddfod authorities!

My Bardic name is 'Heusor o Gwm Eidda' - it means the keeper of animals such as sheep, cattle, pigs, not only the husbandry side but the watching, guarding, protecting and leadership element.


Farmers' Union of Wales
Llys Amaeth
Plas Gogerddan
SY23 3BT

01970 820820


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