One door closes, another one opens

by Glyn Roberts, FUW President

On behalf of the Union, I would like to sincerely thank you Margaret for all your years of service to the Union. From the early days of Evan Lewis as General Secretary and Myrddin Evans as President, to Guto Bebb as Managing Director. You have seen great changes within the Union, but you have been a solid rock throughout every period of change and have adapted without fuss.

Throughout this long period, Margaret was highly respected by all her colleagues. I only heard good things about her - she was a champion administrator with her approachable personality, ability to be so organised, knowing exactly where every document was, and where people should be and at what time. They say behind every good man there is a better wife, this is true of good administrators - behind every good meeting, there are masterful administrators - Margaret was the engine that kept everything ticking over.

Her dedication to the Union over the years has been exemplary, although her official working hours were 9 to 5, she would be at the office shortly after 8 and there until at least 5.30 - her heart was in the work. Yes in her work and not to draw attention to herself.

Personally, when I had a dilemma - it would be nice to turn to Margaret for a chat and some advice. It must be said that it was a great advantage for me, as she knew more than anyone else what was going on in all aspects of the Union, and would excel her prudent and analytical ability to assist me. Although she would not mince her words, her subtle opinion and unique way of saying things would be invaluable.

Caron Dynamite - remember the name!

by Angharad Evans, ​Welsh Language Communications Officer

As I write this month’s Cornel Clecs, it's important to note the date, Wednesday 22 September 2021 - which of course marks the beginning of the Autumn - the Autumn Equinox. It's a very important season in the farming calendar too - the time when farmers across the country start preparing for spring, and think about the ram season.

It has been a very busy time for the ewe lamb, breeding sheep and ram sales for several weeks now, with daily auctions taking place in every corner of the country and beyond.

Prices have generally been very kind to the sellers (not so much for buyers!) throughout the summer, and the sheep auctions are no different. One Ceredigion family, who are members of the Union, had an unforgettable day at The English National Texel Sale at the end of August. Caron Dynamite, a yearling ram belonging to the Williams family of Cilcennin, Ceredigion, was sold for an incredible £32,000gns and broke the McCartneys Livestock Auction record in Worcester. Here is Gwilym Williams, owner of Dynamite to explain more about the incredible achievement:

"The Caron flock started in 1988 after buying sheep in Builth," explains Gwilym. “My Mum and Dad, Gerallt and Eileen Williams, Llys Y Wawr, Penuwch, near Tregaron, started Caron. After buying the first sheep, the family then decided to compete in local agricultural shows in Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire.

Support local communities by eating local produce

by Gwion Rowlands, Vice Chairman Meirionnydd FUW

I live in Gaergoed, Glanrafon near Corwen with my wife, Elain, and our children Lleucu 9, Saran 6, and Lliwen 3.

I am very interested in the Union’s work locally, attending the Meirionnydd Executive Committee regularly, and I enjoy discussing current issues. I have been a member of the Union’s Central Council for some years, and in May this year I was elected Vice-Chairman of the county branch. I consider this a privilege, and will do my best to assist and to be involved in the activities.

After leaving school, I spent a year at Llysfasi Agricultural College, followed by a year studying a Beef and Sheep Management course at Reaseheath College, Nantwich. Following this, I worked on a JCB farm in Uttoxeter, before spending 18 months on farms in Australia and New Zealand, and returning home to shepherd on local farms as well as working at home.

I now farm in partnership with my father and brother Gethin. We farm Gaergoed and Tyn Pant, Llidiardau, Bala which extends to approximately 240 acres between them and rent a further 420 acres. We keep around 2,200 ewes which include Welsh, Texel and Mule cross. All lambs are sold in Ruthin or Welshpool marts. We have 25 suckler cows crossed with a Charolais bull, and all the calves are sold as stores, the majority supplying the local slaughterhouse in Corwen or selling through Mold mart.

A whitty, talented and extremely brave character

by Angharad Evans, Welsh Language Communications Officer

A husband, father, neighbour, friend, farmer, introduction to Rob Tycam or officially known as Robert Edward Morris Jones.  

A whole community lost a very special person when Rob passed away, far too early, in 2018.  But he certainly left his mark on this world! Rob also left his mark on our family, a close friend, and best man at our wedding.

The loss of such a great character like Rob, left a massive gap in the lives of his wife Ann, his children Llyr, Gwenan and Ffion, and also on the many other lives that he touched. A whole community has the greatest of respect for the family for the way they have gone about remembering Rob and helping others in the process.

Rob Tycam was one of the contemporary poets of his native rural area, Mynydd Bach, which stands above Trefenter in Ceredigion. He left school at the age of 14 and was a farmer by profession. And it was whilst going about his daily work on the farm that he found his inspiration and would start writing on any piece of paper he could find in his pocket! In memory of Rob, the family decided to publish his work, and recently Cornel Clecs had the opportunity to ask Ann more about the book, and the family’s amazement at how much support it’s received:

“Rob would compose poetry and write regularly throughout the year. The themes chosen would depend on which Eisteddfod literary competitions would arrive at the house, or if a wedding or special birthday was happening.

Nearly 1000 viewers tune in to strength of mind event

Nearly 1000 viewers tuned in to a chat between two world-class extreme sports personalities at a special virtual event organised recently by volunteer led healthy minds organisation in rural Wales.

The World's Best Machine Shearer, Richard Jones of Glyndyfrdwy and extreme endurance runner and TV presenter, Lowri Morgan shared their experiences with a virtual audience at the hands of experienced broadcaster and host, Nic Parry at the Rhug Estate, recently.

Nerth Dy Ben*, a volunteer-run organisation that aims to give individuals a platform to share positive experiences, in Welsh, organised the event to share the endurance, perseverance and mental strength individuals need to meet extreme physical challenges.

Shearer Richard Jones said: "If you enjoy what you do, nothing can beat that. I would never change my job. I have no interest whatsoever in machinery, but I do love working with animals.

“Some days, things go wrong. But it's important to forget about those things and move on to a new day. Working with animals, be rain or shine, you just have to keep going.”

Uncertain crossroad for agriculture in the uplands


by Osian Gwyn Jones, a hill farm’s son from Arenig, Y Bala, Gwynedd

Agriculture has always been a passion of mine, and I loved helping my father on the farm when I was younger. I grew up in Rhyd-y-Fen, Arenig, an upland farm that extends from 340m up to 700m where we keep Welsh Mountain sheep as well as Welsh Black cattle.

I received my primary school education at Ysgol Bro Tryweryn, Frongoch, before going on to secondary school at Ysgol y Berwyn, Bala. In the 6th form, I had the opportunity to do my A levels, as well as completing a BTEC in agriculture. Following Ysgol y Berwyn re-introducing an agricultural qualification, I was part of the second year to study it.

I am delighted to have taken this opportunity, as it laid the foundation of my agricultural education and we were able to visit the SIMA and SIA shows in Paris during the first year, and the McHale factory in County Mayo during the second year.

Following this, I decided that I wanted to study an agriculture course at Aberystwyth University. At university, I enjoyed all the work associated with agri-environment as it was very relevant to our type of farming at home and very current due to the increased public interest in the environmental footprint of their food. 

Two from Ceredigion start up a Community for Wales’ Communicators

by Angharad Evans, Welsh Language Communications Officer

Aren't we lucky where we live? And more than that the ability to communicate with each other in Welsh?

Two women from Ceredigion have launched a new society for Welsh speakers working in the field of Communication, and both have close links with the Farmers’ Union of Wales.

Gwenan Davies is the daughter of Cwmcoedog, Mydroilyn, and the family have been members of the Union for many years. Cwmcoedog has now developed to offer state of the art cottages and glamping facilities.

Manon Wyn James lives in Tregaron and is the wife of Gwion James, Senior Insurance Executive at the Union’s office in Lampeter.

They both set up SYLW to create a community for communication experts to share ideas, make connections and develop careers in a completely Welsh environment.  The pandemic has enabled virtual communication conferences and attract members via a digital system.