The ‘show’ must go on

Cornel Clecs, by Angharad Evans, Welsh Editor of Y Tir

For many of you, like us, the summer of 2020 is a lot different than usual – much quieter. We would have exhibited the sheep in at least three local shows by now, with the calendar full of other shows spread right across the summer. But this is not the case this year, as we all face a new 'normal' without some of the most significant events in the Welsh agricultural calendar.

But the agricultural industry has proved itself as adaptive as ever. It would be easy just to say “OK, we’ll be back next year”, but instead, many events have chosen not to fully surrender to Covid-19, and have looked for other ways to function, by going digital. But whilst this is ground breaking, and does lighten the mood of the current unprecedented situation, is this the future of our shows?

A place for the soul to rest

by Angharad Evans, Welsh Editor, Y Tir

A different month, but the same situation. Coronavirus continues to hold its grip on the world as we slowly become more familiar with the new 'normal'. I didn't want to bore you by talking about the virus again this month, but as it’s the only thing currently dominating the world, I quickly realised that nothing else is happening, no gossip!

It’s so easy for everyone to complain about this strange situation, but let’s look at things from a different angle for a moment and look at the positives. It was Mental Health Awareness Week recently, and it's more important than ever to make sure that everyone is fine and that no one is suffering in silence.

As a result of this global pandemic, I have learned something important about myself. There’s no need for a routine. I was so used to life’s daily rituals happening in the natural rhythm. Getting up, going to meet the school bus, going to work, coming home, supper and bed. In the middle of the hustle and bustle it was very difficult to escape the routine. But as the schools closed, I planned some sort of a timetable, so that we could follow some sort of structure at home. But I quickly realised that it wasn't necessary, and impossible to keep living on a farm! Lambing wasn't going to fit in with our schedule! Life has slowed down and nature has had time to breathe, us too - while staying home - a place for the soul to rest!

With the real possibility that our schools may not return to normal in the near future, I’m not too worried that Ladi Fach Tŷ Ni has missed months of education. Quite the opposite actually. Since being home, she has had experiences that would not have been possible when the schools were open. Learning how to pull lambs - a life lesson. How to dose and dag sheep – a Maths lesson. Learning the art of fencing from her father - a Design and Technology lesson. Cooking meals and making my lockdown birthday special by baking and decorating a cake – a Cookery lesson. And, of course, plenty of exercise and keeping fit in lovely fresh air! But the most important lesson is spending precious time as a family. As she approaches the teenage years, she will obviously want to spend less time with us, and we will not have this time again. We’ve had time this year to see the seasons changing, the leaves appearing on the trees, the cuckoo singing, the wild flowers filling our hedgerows, perhaps there was no time to notice before!

No one knows when this strange situation will end, or how life will ultimately look at the other side. But I am confident of one thing, Ladi Fach Tŷ Ni has benefited from all the experiences that have come her way, which will hopefully provide a solid foundation for her skills in the future. Until next time, stay safe everyone!

Along with the body, the mind is the best bit of kit a farmer can have.

Along with the body, the mind is the best bit of kit a farmer can have. But it is also the hardest to maintain. Commitments on the farm, lack of local healthcare support and the stigma surrounding mental health are the main reasons why many within the farming community struggle to look after their mind and body. But if they are not well-maintained the consequences can be disastrous.

Agriculture carries a high rate of poor mental health for various reasons. Isolation and  the fact it is a male dominated sector are just a couple of reasons for poor mental health.  Add to that the pressure that comes along with being a modern day farmer and we have a recipe for possible poor mental health. What we need to realise is that we are not alone. 

These feelings you might be having aren’t ones that only you feel. There are many people who feel the same way; the same loneliness, helplessness and uncertainty. It’s also important to understand there is no shame in having poor mental health. 

We all have mental health, various things happen throughout our life that impact our mental health and there is no shame or weakness in admitting you are suffering with poor mental health. 

The single most effective thing you can do to help yourself is to talk. Talk about your struggles and about what you are feeling. Just by telling someone what you are going through is one of the biggest steps you can take – you will feel a weight lift off your shoulders. 

Cyfrif fy mendithion am y pethau bach

 

 

gan Angharad Evans, Golygydd y Gymraeg

Rhyw ffordd neu’i gilydd, mae Cornel Clecs wedi glanio ar dudalennau Y Tir bob mis ers Hydref 2015. Mae’n dipyn o sialens ambell i fis, ond ddim cymaint o sialens a’r mis yma, y mis cyntaf i mi ysgrifennu’r golofn o’n swyddfa fach newydd, adref. Mae’n ffordd o fyw ni gyd wedi newid dros nos, gweithio o adre, a Ladi Fach Tŷ Ni bellach yn derbyn ei haddysg drwy gyfrwng y we, adref. Ond rydym yn gwneud y gorau o’r sefyllfa hyll sydd ohoni ac yn cyfri ein bendithion am gael bod yn iach ac yn ddiogel adref ac yn diolch i’r rhai hynny sy’n allweddol i gadw olwynion ein gwlad i fynd.

Ynghanol argyfwng y coronofirws presennol, rwy’n cyfaddef, ar adegau, fy mod yn edrych ar fwyd a’i baratoi mewn ffordd wahanol. Gyda phawb yn gaeth i’r cyfyngiadau symud, nid yw’n bosib picio i’r siop fel mae’r awydd yn codi. Mae ymweliad o’r fath yn gorfod cael ei gynllunio yn ofalus, dyddiau o flaen llaw, ac yn aml, yn gorfod cyd-fynd gyda mynd i’r fet, i’r syrjeri i moen presgripsiwn neu neges hanfodol arall. 

Ar ddechrau’r argyfwng presennol, a phan oedd rhai nwyddau yn brin, roeddwn yn meddwl dwywaith cyn meddwl coginio ambell bryd, gan boeni mewn ffordd, a fyddai digon o hwn a’r llall gyda fi tan y ‘siopa’ nesaf. Rwy’n perthyn i genhedlaeth sydd erioed wedi gorfod meddwl fel hyn o’r blaen, wedi cael ein sbwylio yn ôl rhai efallai. Ond meddyliwch gorfod meddwl fel hyn am fwyd am gyfnod mwy na rhai misoedd. Dyna fel oedd pethau adeg y rhyfeloedd.

Yn ffodus iawn, daeth teulu ochr fy nhad at ei gilydd am gwpwl o oriau dros y Nadolig, ni feddyliodd neb bryd hynny, ni fyddai’n bosib dod at ein gilydd am beth amser wedyn. Roedd mis yma fod yn fis pwysig o ran dathliadau VE, y Fuddugoliaeth yn Ewrop, a gyda sôn am hyn ers sbel, roedd Ladi Fach Tŷ Ni wedi cymryd diddordeb yn hanes y rhyfel, ac yn fwy pwysig hanes ei hen dad-cu yn gwasanaethu yn y rhyfel. Cafodd gyfle i weld rhai pethau’n eiddo i’n nhad-cu adeg y rhyfel. 

Wrth edrych ar yr holl bethau, tynnwyd fy sylw at y llyfr bach dogni bwyd. Meddyliwch gorfod byw gyda’ch siâr chi o fwyd am gyfnod penodol o amser. Gyda nwyddau megis siwgr, cig, olew coginio, a bwyd mewn tin yn cael eu dogni i sicrhau bod digon ar gyfer pawb.

Meddyliwch am heddiw, sefyllfa i’r gwrthwyneb yn hollol. Dim llyfr dogni bwyd gan fod digon o laeth, a digon o gig ar gael. Ond mae gweld ffermwyr llaeth yn arllwys llaeth ffres i lawr y draen, gan fod dim galw amdano yn dorcalonnus. Mae pawb yn gorfod bwyta adref yn hytrach na mynd allan i fwyta, ac yn golygu bod neb digon mentrus i goginio’r darnau gwell o gig fel y stêcs ayyb, a hynny’n arwain at ostyngiad yn y galw. 

Rydym mor ffodus yma yng Nghymru o’n ffermwyr, sy’n gweithio bob awr posib i edrych ar ôl eu hanifeiliaid i sicrhau bod bwyd gwych o safon ardderchog ar gael ar y plât. Mae’n amser i ni gyd gyfrif ein bendithion a diolch i’r rhai hynny sy’n sicrhau bod digon o fwyd ar gael i ni. 

Beth am gofio am aberth fy nhad-cu a’i gyd-filwyr ar ddiwrnod VE eleni wrth gefnogi’n arwyr modern, ein ffermwyr. Cofiwch am y stecen gorau o bîff neu’r golwyth o gig oen sy’n tynnu’r dŵr o’ch dannedd, a chodwch wydriad o laeth i’n ffermwyr oll - Iechyd da bawb!

 

Sheep, pupils and rushes - how one Carmarthen man is juggling the lot

He is a familiar face in Carmarthenshire and many know him either through school, from the mart or as the FUW’s current Carmarthenshire chairman. 

Phil Jones, from Clyttie Cochion, Llanpumsaint, has been farming almost his entire life, embraced the ups and downs and inspires generations of young people to get a footing in the farming industry. 

You might have heard the joke about the tourist who asked a local resident how to get from Kenmare to Killarney on the west coast of Ireland and the response was somewhat baffling; ‘’I don’t know as if I wanted to get to Killarney,I wouldn’t start from there’’! 

And that in a sense he said, would be a good introduction to his farm.

“As if you wanted to make money from farming, you wouldn’t start in Clyttie Cochion, Llanpumsaint!  At least, not since the new millennium dawned and the wet weather started in earnest. Our farm’s soil type is clay over a heavy clay subsoil and it has not ‘adapted’ well to a significant increase in annual rain,” he says. 

Phil took the farm back in hand from his father around 2011 and started keeping the Easycare breed of sheep as he wanted a ‘hands off’ farming system and a way of managing the grassland without poaching the ground. 

“We keep a motley flock numbering about 350, of mainly Easycare type ewes. My Dad was more fortunate than I, in that he farmed the place with 50 dairy cows and that is what I had thought that I would be doing when I returned from Agricultural College in the early 80’s. 

“But to my surprise, just as I finished my HND, he decided to sell the cows. And that was the beginning of my life’s adventures,” he recalls.  

He was gifted 50 acres and a derelict farmhouse, which was renovated in 1990 and is the family's present dwelling and borrowed money against the recently acquired asset to begin his farming career.  

A lunchtime fave - Steak and Perl Las Sandwich

Food plays a big part in our life. Both my husband Adam and me love cooking and trying new things, especially if they involve locally and Welsh sourced produce. We are lucky to have such exceptional food right on our doorstep and when it comes to red meat and dairy produce, Wales, in our minds, leads the way. Who would dare argue with that? 

With a bit of spare time on our hands there has been an increase in kitchen activity - from baking bread, to a first attempt at brewing beer, slow cooking all sorts of beef and lamb, BBQ’s as soon as there is a bit of sunshine around. Dinner in our house is rarely a boring affair. 

Lunch on the other hand needed some attention. So we put our thinking caps on and it didn’t take long for inspiration to hit. What do we love to eat? What makes our soul sing with contentment? Beef steak, bread and cheese, of course. A fine combination as far as comfort food is concerned. Say hello to the Dunn Steak and Perl Las sandwich. 

All credit for this creation must go to my husband - who is by far the more talented out of the two of us when it comes to cooking up a storm. 

From our house to yours - we hope you enjoy! 

Anne & Adam Dunn

Please meet the Korean coffee drink that has taken the internet by storm, dalgona coffee.

Always looking for different ways in how we can support our dairy farmers and enjoy the white gold in a new and exciting way, we have been scouring the internet for ideas and came across a gem! 

Please meet the Korean coffee drink that has taken the internet by storm, dalgona coffee. It is essentially like a cappuccino but upside down. The frothy coffee sits on top and the milk underneath. 

The good thing is, it only requires three ingredients and you can have it hot or cold. What’s not to love? 

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COVID-19 - Important Information for our members and customers

 

In view of the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we’ve taken the decision to help protect members, customers and colleagues by closing all FUW offices.

All staff will be working remotely for the foreseeable future, meaning our team will be continuing with exactly the same service but over the phone/email/skype or other means of remote communication instead. 

Members and customers should continue to contact us as they would, as all our team can be contacted via the usual phone numbers. 

We will be making sure that our service levels are maintained. SAF/IACS appointments will carry on as normal but will be conducted over the phone. 

Contact details for your local office can be found here: https://www.fuw.org.uk/en/contact-us 

 

Important links relating to the Coronavirus:


The TB Hub have prepared a list of FAQs regarding how TB procedures will be affected by the virus: https://tbhub.co.uk/statutory-tb-testing-of-cattle-in-gb-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

Red Tractor Updated Covid-19 position here: https://assurance.redtractor.org.uk/contentfiles/Farmers-7085.pdf?_=637206600290507095

Livestock Auctioneers Association LAA - 25/03/2020: https://www.laa.co.uk/news/3989/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-to-members-and-farmers/

Business Wales (including details of coronavirus support for businesses): https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) available through participating lenders: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/

National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) guidance on Coronavirus: https://www.naac.co.uk/coronavirus-guidance-issued-to-contractors/

National Milk Recording services 24/03/2020: https://www.nmr.co.uk/about-us/coronavirus

Senedd Research Blog: https://seneddresearch.blog/2020/03/17/coronavirus-constituency-support/