The spotlight will be on the Welsh livestock industry’s outstanding sustainability credentials when exemplar farmers like Whitland’s Aled Picton Evans take the stage at Hybu Cig Cymru-Meat Promotion Wales’ (HCC) conference this week.
The three trail-blazing farmers - Aled Picton Evans, Dyfed Davies and Emily Jones - will explain how their commitment to sustainability achieves wider benefits for their businesses and the consumer.
They join a prestigious roll call of speakers, including leading global academic Professor Dr Peer Ederer, at the high-profile annual event held at the Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells, on Thursday, November 9.
Aled farms 800 acres at Whitland, Carmarthenshire with his family. There are 600 cattle over three locations and 300 breeding ewes.
“Consumers care about sustainability,” said Aled, Farmers Weekly Beef Farmer of the Year 2021.
“It’s all part of our legacy plan. It has a positive impact on our local environment and local community. We believe we have a social licence to operate and to us that means no soya feed, monitoring carbon footprint and keeping fossil fuels as low as possible among other actions.”
Aled said GPS mapping for grassland divides the farm into grazing blocks: “It’s very technical to set up but simple to run - more thinking, less legwork.”
He spoke of the ethos behind how the farm is run: “We have three personal goals that guide the business - profit, lifestyle and legacy. Any decisions we make have to cater for all three. We aim to have a 50-hour working week and every other weekend off. It’s essential if you have a young family.”
Emily Jones espouses “tradition with a modern twist” at Garnwen Farm, Penuwch, near Tregaron.
“The family make every effort to go back to the ways of the old times but we’re also looking ahead and doing our bit to help the environment, such as increasing the amount of carbon capture and farming in harmony with nature,” said Emily.
Dyfed Davies and family farm an extensive low input sheep system at Eisteddfa Fawr on the Preseli mountains. He will talk about working in New Zealand post-Aberystwyth University and the encouragement the experience gave him to help adaptation, assist genetic gain in the hill flock and improve their grass and forage-based system.
Like Aled, they will reveal more of their farming story at the Conference, which is free of charge and open to all stakeholders.
“Sustainability supports our brands and is the watchword in Welsh red meat production where great innovation can be found in every corner of the industry,” said Rachael Madeley-Davies, HCC’s Head of Sustainability and Future Policy, who will lead the session. “So, to emphasise our progress, we have given a Conference platform to three forward-looking farmers who will talk with a practical passion about how they inventively integrate sustainability into their commercial activities.”