The joy and sadness of one month

by Angharad Evans, Welsh Language Communications Officer

It would not be possible to write Cornel Clecs this month without mentioning Dai Llanilar. As a child growing up in the 80s, watching Cefn Gwlad on S4C would be the golden half hour every week. We’d make sure supper was done and eaten, and look out if the phone rang during Cefn Gwlad, it would be left to ring!

One of the last times I saw Dai was in a car park in Aberystwyth before the Covid pandemic. He was sitting in the Discovery waiting for Olwen to return from shopping, and although I hadn't seen him for a while beforehand, you would never had known this, as the conversation was as fresh as if we had seen each other the day before.

One of Dai's most cherished qualities was that he would always ask about the family, and for a moment you would forget that you were talking to one of the greatest Welsh broadcasters. Thank you Dai for being everybody’s friend, and for ensuring that farming and the countryside would always be in the limelight, a true champion of the countryside, there will only ever be one Dai Llanilar.

It is interesting to read Elin Jones Ceredigion MS's tribute to Dai on page 4 as she refers to the way in which Dai would argue the farmer's case, especially the younger generation, and Dai took great pride in the achievements of young people.

On the same weekend that Dai passed away, the Cân i Gymru competition was held, and fittingly this year’s winner was a farmer’s son from Montgomeryshire.

The proverb ‘Tapping persistently breaks the stone’ is certainly true for Rhydian Meilir Pughe from Cemaes, having competed and shortlisted for the competition in 2012, 2019 and 2020.  But 2022 was Rhydian's year with his song ‘Mae Yna Le’, which was performed on the night by Ryland Teifi.

The heart of our agricultural communities

by Angharad Evans, Welsh Language Communications Officer

Growing up in the eighties (I won’t go into too much detail, or secrets will be revealed about my age!), there wasn't much talk about going abroad on holidays. The highlight of every holiday for me was going to the local mart, in Aberystwyth or Tregaron. I loved walking up and down every alley admiring the stock, but that of course could take some time, when you’d stop to talk to different people. 

To this day, mart day remains an important day, and after a long wait, the buzz returned to the heart of Carmarthen mart at the beginning of the month. There was a lot of looking forward to seeing the mart reopening as it is the local mart for many of our members in and around Carmarthenshire and offers great and convenient facilities for sellers and buyers.

Carmarthen mart is now run by Nock Deighton Agricultural LLP, but what exactly is the importance of securing a local mart for farmers? Here is Mark Burgoyne of the company to tell us more: “It is not always obvious to the general public what a livestock market is all about, but market closures create a massive vacuum in the agricultural community which cannot be easily filled. It is great news that Carmarthen Mart opened again on 2nd March 2022,” explains Mark.

Introducing Phil Ellis – New Chief Executive of Wales YFC

Previously an operations manager at Aberinnovation, a science park dedicated to agricultural technology, Phil Ellis started in his new role as Chief Executive for the Wales Young Farmer Federation on 22nd November 2021. Since then, he has already been involved in the movement’s main events that kick start the YFC year: the Eisteddfod and Winter Fair. Having been in the role for only a couple of months, Phil now has big plans for the future of the movement, with his main focus being the post-COVID response for local clubs, and the mental health and wellbeing of members.

Tell us a bit about yourself?

Living in rural mid Wales, I have always worked with young people in different organisations and those in the Young Farmers have always stood out for their hard work, dedication and passion for their movement. This was one of the reasons I went for this role with Wales YFC. Living in mid wales, I enjoy hill walking, camping and am a big fan of Formula 1 and Rugby.

What made you apply for the role?

My motivation came from seeing the great work that the movement does for young people in rural settings, and as the new Chief Executive I feel i can bring my experience to the table and help build on what is already an impressive and progressive movement.

Tribute to past FUW Area Officer

Mr Lyn Williams, retired FUW Area Officer has passed away. Lyn joined the FUW during 1977 and worked for FUW Insurance for 30 years, retiring during 2007. Lyn’s area was, in effect, the Gwendraeth Valley, Carmarthenshire, and the family home in Pontyberem was ideally suited for his work. 

Lyn was fully involved in his local community and he worked as a volunteer at both the National Eisteddfod and the Urdd Eisteddfod for many years. Lyn also had a passion for vintage tractors and his coffin was carried to the service at Caersalem Chapel, Pontyberem by his Massey Ferguson tractor.

Lyn was a highly respected JP for many years and the other great passion in his life were the Scarlets and he rarely missed a home fixture.

FUW Deputy President, Ian Rickman, was present at the funeral to represent the FUW as well as a number of retired staff and members. 

Ian added: “I knew Lyn very well and I am very much aware of the outstanding contribution he made to the FUW over many years. I extend my condolences and the condolences of everyone at the FUW to Lyn’s family at this difficult time.”

Discussing fond memories

Seion Chapel, Llandysul would be one of the most unlikely first topics of discussion when the Caernarfonshire FUW Senior County Executive Officer, Gwynedd Watkin, met Mabon ap Gwynfor, Dwyfor Meirionnydd Member of the Senedd recently on a farm. But that's exactly what happened.

During his conversation with Mabon, Gwynedd explained that his father, the late Reverend John Watkin, was the minister of Seion chapel between 1964 and 1972, where Mabon's father is now the current minister, the Reverend Guto Prys ap Gwynfor.

This is not the only coincidence in terms of both their backgrounds. When Gwynedd's family left Llandysul, they moved to Morriston in the Swansea Valley where his father became the minister of Tabernacle chapel. Years later Mabon's father became minister of Hebron chapel in Clydach, also in the Swansea Valley, before they moved to Llandysul.

Gwynedd said: “I was so pleased to meet Mabon and to have the opportunity to reminisce on so many fond memories of my time in Llandysul and the Swansea Valley. We have both been influenced by fond memories of our time in Llandysul and the Swansea Valley before our careers led us to other parts of Wales.


From education to agriculture

by Llinos Angharad Owen, Tir Dewi and FUW member

There is so much talk these days about the word "diversification" but what does that really mean? Well, it broadens experiences or it means changing from doing one thing to doing something completely different. This is exactly what I did two years ago and completely changed direction from education to agriculture.

I was in education for over twenty years as a teacher, Assistant Headteacher and then Head in Charge at a secondary school in Gwynedd. Then followed a period of working as a Children in Care Education Officer with Conwy Council, and then really deciding that I wanted to help on our family farm and diversify the business. We now have two holiday homes that offer a bilingual service and we educate our visitors about our history and culture here in rural Snowdonia. We, along with a group of friends, have also set up an international shears competition, "Cneifio Gelert" which is going from strength to strength.

Working at home on the farm with my husband Gareth in the heart of the Snowdonia countryside has been an eye opener for me in terms of not only the farming industry, but also the farming community. The pressure, paperwork and endless changes all come with their own challenges. During the past year we have all faced very unexpected challenges in our lives as a result of the pandemic. We have all had to adjust our daily lives and some of us are feeling more isolated than ever before.

Agriculture secures another professional international prop

by Angharad Evans, Welsh Language Communications Officer 

It’s always a pleasure to take pride in the achievements of our young people, and Cornel Clecs has a very special story for you this month, one that also has a very special connection with FUW. I'll explain more about this later.

Let's get to know one of the rugby pitch's newest stars. But it's not just the rugby field that interests a hill farm girl from Snowdonia, and the story starts on the farm yard.

Having experienced sheepdog trials international success, Gwenllian Pyrs is one of the first women to be selected to play rugby full-time professionally for Wales.

Gwenllian is one of 12 women recently awarded a full-time contract by the Welsh Rugby Union. It's a huge change for the girl from Padog near Ysbyty Ifan in the upper Conwy Valley who has now moved to Cardiff to be able to train daily with the Welsh squad.

One of ten children, Gwenllian grew up on Ty Mawr Eidda farm and has rugby in her blood.  All five of her brothers and four sisters have played for, or still play for Nant Conwy RFC. Two of her sisters, Elin and Non have played for the 'North Wales' team and Alaw, Ifan, Maredudd and Rhodri have played for 'Eryri'. They follow in the footsteps of their father Eryl, one of the founders and former captain of Nant Conwy RFC.

"'Nant Conwy' is much more than a rugby club," said Eryl. "It is an important social club, with the Welsh language being a natural medium for activities and training and a way for the area’s youth to have a completely natural social life through the medium of Welsh. A very high percentage - around 80% of the members come from an agricultural background and is an important medium for the country and town to come together.