Training opportunities exist for young farmers

by Rosie Davies

I’m a farmer’s daughter, born and bred on a beef and sheep farm near Llanelli in Carmarthenshire. Farming is an important part of my life, and goes back many generations of the family over the years. Being brought up on a farm in the countryside has helped me choose the kind of path I want to follow in the industry.

As part of my GCSE’s, I decided to study level 2 Agriculture at Coleg Sir Gâr, Gelli Aur. After finishing school, I went to Gelli Aur College to study level 3 in Agriculture full-time, and then finished by studying a Foundation Degree in Agriculture and Animal Science where I graduated during summer 2021.

During my time at college, I enjoyed every second of the learning and the social side. It was a privilege to visit the different farms and see the systems they operated, and also learned a lot of the practicalities, much of which I can use to improve the system and the way our farm is run. I enjoyed the social side by meeting and working with people across the county, and made lifelong friends in the process.

In 2019, I had the opportunity to travel to New Zealand with the college. We spent three weeks visiting different farms, agricultural businesses and also staying overnight on farms to help and learn about their lifestyle. During the three weeks we started our journey in Auckland and travelled down the 'North Island' and then crossed to the 'South Island' and finished in Queenstown. The highlight of the trip for me was visiting Mount Linton, the largest beef and sheep farm in the 'South Island'.

Since finishing college I have been working full time at home on the farm and also milking on another farm 4-5 days a week. I work alongside my father and sister, we keep 15  pedigree Simmental suckler cows, and a flock of Blue Texel pedigree sheep and crossbreed sheep.

We started keeping Simmental pedigree cattle in 2002. My sister was responsible for starting the Simmental cattle herd after learning about the breed's characteristics while studying at Aberystwyth University.

We've crossed some pedigree cows with Hereford and British Blue bulls to get the crossbreeds. The flock of sheep contains 30 Pedigree Blue Texel sheep and we have about 130 Texel and Mule sheep in the crossbreed flock. I started keeping the Blue Texel flock in 2013 with the aim of competing at local shows where I have been successful several times.

I am optimistic that agriculture has a good future in Wales, especially as there are many training opportunities for young farmers. Organisations such as YFC, Farming Connect and FUW help create opportunities for young people so that they have the opportunity to start their own businesses within the industry.