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My Blog : Farmers Guardian

James farms 180ha (450 acres) of uplands in Llanbadarn Fynydd, Powys. Married to Rachel with three sons, James runs 1,000 ewes, mostly Aberfield crosses, plus a 50-head suckler herd. An HCC scholar in 2014, he is involved with NFU Cymru’s Next Generation initiative and is passionate about rural affairs.

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I really welcome the findings of the world’s largest ever field trial looking at the real impacts of neonicotinoid pesticides on bees, yet, once again, this new piece of research appears to have completely split those involved in this issue over whether or not it is a gamechanger.

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Phil farms 385ha (950 acres) in Cheshire, split between the family farm on Lord Cholmondeley’s estate and Organsdale Farm near Tarporley. He milks 300 cows, mainly pedigree Brown Swiss, as well as diversifying into business units and an equestrian facility. He is also a Nuffield Scholar. Twitter: @PhilLatham

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Young Farmer Focus: Becky Dennis, Northlew, Devon

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Becky Dennis, 18, works on the family farm alongside her dad, fattening 300 fat cattle and 300 sheep a year. She also keeps pedigree South Devons and enjoys showing them at local shows.

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There is nothing quite like a trip abroad to put some perspective on the state of the UK. And my recent two-week venture to New Zealand was no exception.

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John Atkinson and Whiterose Queen were the victors of the Harden Moss double gather championship, the conclusion to three days of trialling.

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Christine Ryder and husband Chris farm 242ha (600 acres) at Blubberhouses, in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. They are tenants on their home farm and also run a B&B. Stock includes Swaledale and Mule flocks, as well as a herd of Belted Galloways. The farm hosts educational access visits.

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Young Farmer Focus: Marc Williams, Sennybridge, Brecon Beacons

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Marc Williams, 27, works for Natural Resources Wales and helps on the family farm near Sennybridge, in the Brecon Beacons. They keep 70 cattle on 40 hectares (100 acres). He is also chairman of Sennybridge YFC and is currently Brecknock YFC senior member of the year.

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Charles Bruce farms near Banff, Aberdeenshire, and has 98 hectares (242 acres) of owned land, 76ha (188 acres) of malting barley which is contract farmed, and rented seasonal grazings extending to 40ha (99 acres). Running an 80-cow fold of pedigree Highland cattle, these are used to supply an on-farm butchery business and his Bogside Farm Shop. There is a commercial ewe flock of about 230-head and a trout fishery is also run as part of the business.

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If hill farming is to survive post-Brexit, we need to challenge the 50-year-old model which sees producing increasing numbers of animals as the key to financial health.

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