Gareth and the world of rallying

by Angharad Evans, Welsh Language Communications Officer

As the summer turned into autumn, one of the largest international motorsport events was held in Ceredigion.

During the first weekend of September, Rali Ceredigion was held where 130 cars competed along the closed roads of Ceredigion stretching over 105 miles. But did you know that there is a connection between this event and the Union? Let’s find out more from one of the staff at the Union’s Head Office in Aberystwyth:

“Most members know me as Gareth Parry, FUW Senior Policy and Communications Officer, however, some of you will also know that I enjoy rallying in my spare time…

Remembering the pioneering character Ionwen Lewis

by Lewis Gruffudd

On 8 August, we were saddened to hear that Ionwen Lewis had passed away.  She lived at Werville Grange Farm, Pentre Gat, Llandysul, Ceredigion. She was Chairman of the Ceredigion Branch of the Farmers’ Union of Wales in 2005/2006 and Ceredigion's representative on the Union's Tourism and Diversification Committee for a number of years. She was an innovative character and as far as we know, the first woman to be Branch Chair.

Gwynfaes Seren Wledig is the star of the show!

by Angharad Evans, Welsh Language Communications Officer

It's been a month since we enjoyed the Royal Welsh Show and I'm sure we all have our memories, but for one Welsh cob breeder and an FUW member from Carmarthenshire, Royal Welsh Show 2023 will be a very memorable one.

Meirion Evans from Cynwyl Elfed won the Welsh Cob Stallions Main Championship with Gwynfaes Seren Wledig. Cornel Clecs had the opportunity to chat with Meirion recently, and to ask exactly what it was like to win such a prestigious title.

Barn Owls - an encouter with FUW Glamorgan Vice Chair Charlotte Llywellyn

How iconic are these birds – floating along a hedgerow, a silent mini torpedo.

I would have been at most 5, but I can still remember the buzz of excitement as my father stopped dead and pointed out the barn owl sitting on top of the old stone wall by the cowshed. That was my last sighting of a barn owl on this farm for 50years. I’m sure they were around… they must have been because the next part of the story starts with an owl pellet.

Scroll on to 2020, I’m now farming the same farm and in a gateway I come across an owl pellet – the regurgitated remains of what ever prey was indigestible. It was very dark, cylindrical, and about 2 inches long. The internet quickly suggested that this was from a barn owl. How excited was I? Tawney owls can be seen and heard regularly across the farm but a barn owl!

By coincidence Steve the Owl Man or Owley as he’s also known, popped up to ask whether he could survey any likely sites for barn owl boxes. Within a month a box was put up – not in a barn, but in a big old ash tree not far from where I’d found the pellet. The following year – not even a Jackdaw used the box! In 2022 again no activity in the box but I did have an amazing night-time encounter, with the owl hovering about 6ft above the ground about 10 ft away!

Celebrating the tractor as a piece of art for generations to com

by Angharad Evans, Welsh Language Communications Officer

I'm taking you on a completely different track in Cornel Clecs this month! To a world that is completely new to me to be honest! For someone who is not artistic at all, the world of Art and Illustration has always amazed me and I often wonder where an artist's inspiration comes from to create a piece of art.

Caleb makes history!

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.