by Angharad Evans, Welsh Language Communications Officer
There are big changes ahead that will change agriculture over the next few years. It is therefore crucial that Welsh farmers have a strong and consistent voice to ensure that there is a prosperous and sustainable future for the industry as a result of the changes.
As a democratic organisation, FUW lobbies members' views at county level and in Cardiff and Westminster. To achieve this we have ten standing committees, each of which deals with a different sector or aspect of agriculture.
History was created in one of those committees recently, the Younger Voice for Farming Committee, where a 15-year-old boy was elected as Vice Chairman of the committee. Caleb Vater, near Abergavenny is the youngest ever Committee Vice Chairman in the history of the Union.
After the historic election, Cornel Clecs had the opportunity to get to know Caleb better, and here he is to introduce himself to us: “My name is Caleb Vater, I am 15 years of age and was recently voted in as the Vice-chairperson to the Younger Voices Committee. I am currently studying for my GCSE’s at Christ College Brecon, where I will sit my exams this summer. One of the GCSE subjects I am studying is Business, living on the family farm I have been fortunate to have gained firsthand business experience when I help my Tad-cu with the book work.
“I live with my family on a mixed beef and sheep farm near Abergavenny in the county of Monmouthshire. I come from a long line of farmers and Union members. From a young age I have been brought up knowing how important it is for farmers to have a voice through the FUW, and that collectively we can have a strong positive voice for the FUW.
“On our family farm we have pedigree Herefords, commercial cattle along with registered and commercial sheep. I have a small flock of Black Welsh Mountain sheep, which over the years I have shown at local shows and at the Royal Welsh Show.
“I am a keen member of the YFC, where I have represented my Club and County in a wide variety of competitions including Stockjudging and Public Speaking. At the age of 14 I was selected to go to the NFYFC Royal Smithfield Stockjudging competition where along with my team mate we won the Trophy for the Live and Carcass Lamb judging competition, individually I came third in the Under 21 class of the competition. It was a really special achievement as the last time a team from our county had won the Trophy was nearly forty years ago.
“After my GCSE exams I am looking forward to spending time on the family farm during the summer along with competing at the Royal Welsh Show. In September I am looking forward to going back to school to study A-Level Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Biology. I would like to go on to study bio-mechanical engineering.
“I enjoy travelling and would like to participate in a study tour to Australia and New Zealand in the future to see how their farming practices compare and contrast to our systems and also how they cope with the warmer weather conditions.” explained Caleb.
It is clear how much passion and enthusiasm Caleb has, not only for the FUW, but for the agricultural industry as well. The energy and new ideas are invaluable and will drive a committee, which is so vital and important to the future of the Union, and with the leadership of Gemma Haines, the new Chair and Caleb, the future looks exciting.
It is important that the next generation of farmers and leaders have the opportunity to put their stamp on things and be part of discussions and decisions that will affect their future.
We wish Caleb well in his new position and also in his studies and exams over the summer.