Gerald Thomas and Bryn Jones are FUW Anglesey County Representatives. Gerald has lived in Llechwedd, Tyn Lon, Holyhead, Anglesey for nearly 38 years and has retired from his full time job at Wylfa nuclear power station 6 years ago. He has kept a herd of Welsh Black cattle since 2004, to complement crossbred cattle. They also breed calves, selling them around 12-18 months old at local auctions, such as Gaerwen, Bryncir and Dolgellau. The pure heifers are sold at the Society's auctions in Dolgellau. Bryn has kept a closed suckler herd of Stabiliser cattle on his farm on Anglesey for over 30 years. Below they give an insight into what it's like to be a County Representative.
Gerald: My father and grandmother were members of FUW. The late Mr Glyn Jones used to visit my home in Llanfechell and I had some interesting conversations with him during that time. I was invited to the Executive for the first time some years ago by Mr Dafydd Roberts, Tryfil - and I continue to attend the monthly meetings.
Bryn: We chose FUW because it is a natural choice for a Welsh family farm.
Views on the future? What do you see as the main challenges and opportunities?
Gerald: It's a difficult time for the agricultural sector, with Brexit being one of the most prominent concerns, and the increase of paperwork if our products are to be exported. In addition, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are noticeable on many rural businesses. One benefit that has resulted from the pandemic is that people are more likely to support local businesses, such as butchers and the other local small shops rather than buying everything in the big supermarkets. The latest situation regarding NVZ is also causing concern and the detrimental effect on many in the countryside.
Bryn: Continue to produce quality stock and get a fair price for it. Concerns about TB, assembly policy, market price and exports. Opportunities are needed for the next generation to live and thrive in the countryside.
What have you learned from being a County Representative?
Gerald: I have learned to listen and work with Union members who are much more experienced than me. I have also attended many meetings and events within and beyond the Union that have enabled me to broaden my horizons and develop an understanding of different issues and appreciate different views on issues. One highlight of my time with the Union was attending the Anglesey Day in the House of Commons in London and being shown around by our then MP, Mr Albert Owen. This was a very special experience and one that I will always remember.
Bryn: Gather information on how the Union works.
Would you recommend other members to become a County Representative and why?
Gerald: Yes, especially young members - the Union really needs young, motivated and energetic members. I had the privilege of being county Chairman, and now County President. Being a member has enabled me to make friends and gain new and valuable experiences.
Bryn: Yes, we need young people to get involved with the Union and share good practice within agriculture.
Do you feel you know more about FUW business as a County Representative?
Gerald: I feel I have a better understanding of the Union, its policies and vision for farming and the countryside for the future.
Bryn: Yes, by engaging with Union officials.
How do you work with the county office?
Gerald: I work closely with the team on Anglesey - I have great respect and praise for them and the valuable work they do for our members. They are very willing to listen to opinions and to work with our members for the benefit of the Union, agriculture and the Welsh countryside.
Bryn: A close relationship with the officers, always available at the end of the phone for any advice and assistance.