Which meat will be on your plate this Christmas?

by Angharad Evans, Welsh Language Communications Officer

It's hard to believe that we are now counting down the last few weeks of 2021, another challenging year coming to an end, with everyone hoping that the new year will signify a better time. But what has become increasingly apparent this year is the growing appetite for shopping locally and supporting small local businesses. It's great to see farmers and their families venturing, diversifying and offering farm produce directly from the farm - which is what the customer wants today - knowing and understanding exactly where the produce on the plate comes from - from gate to plate!

With the mention of possible turkey shortages during early autumn this year, are we able to contemplate the traditional Christmas dinner without turkey, and think of an alternative meat? 

Here’s Helen Thomas, FUW's Deputy County Executive Officer in Gwent and Glamorgan to introduce two members who have ventured with their meat boxes:  “Our members Ben and wife Julia run a low input traditional farm in Monmouthshire, where their cattle and sheep are grass fed only. 

Developing a positive mindset

by Sam Carey

To develop a positive mindset, I believe that there are a few basics that set the foundation. These include the following; 

  • Eating well 
  • Drinking less (alcohol) 
  • Sleeping well  
  • and reducing negative influences 

After setting the foundation of the basics seen above, one can focus on developing a positive mindset.  To me, it is like training your muscles, if you want to get stronger then you have to practice. The more often you lift weights and the heavier they get, then the stronger you become. Developing a mental strength is the same. 

What helped me develop a positive mindset was to become aware of my emotions or feelings. Are they positive or negative? It is important to know that you are in control of your thoughts and in essence your feelings. If a negative thought comes into your head, can you get rid of it without harbouring it for a long period. If held onto; it will become a feeling and affect your mood. The challenge is to be able to go through your day without harbouring a single negative thought. It’s a skill and requires practice.  ‘Whatever you practice, you will improve at’  

Chatting, sharing experiences and supporting each other

By Angharad Evans, Welsh Language Communications Officer

“It’s been so busy!” How often do you hear that sentence?! We all have busy lives, for which we must be thankful for. But sometimes we need to take a minute or two to think about ourselves and look after our mental health.

Nerth Dy Ben is a new platform, to do just that, provide an opportunity to chat, share experiences, and most importantly, support each other. Here is Alaw Owen from Nerth Dy Ben to explain more:

Back in February, Nerth Dy Ben was established with the aim of giving individuals a platform, in Welsh, to share their ideas of what mental strength is, and to talk and share experiences on how to maintain mental strength, whilst living and working in rural Wales.

“Some people may take mental strength for granted, but others find it harder to acknowledge their strengths, rather than their weaknesses.  For example, we rarely sit back at the end of a busy day or week and recognise what we have achieved on our 'to do' lists. And how many of us do the opposite and focus on the things that are yet to be done, and even add to the list rather than celebrate what has already been achieved?

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, poet...an 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.