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Young Farmer Focus - Rachael Davies, Gwynedd



Rachael, 32, and her husband, Geraint, farm 486 hectares (1,200 acres) in Bala, Gwynedd their two young daughters. They keep 1,000 breeding ewes with 200 replacements and 30 suckler cows. Rachael also works part-time as a senior manager for the Rhug Estate.

 

Shearing: We finally finished the shearing this week; culminating with the mountain ewes.


Following the wet winter we decided to delay sending our couples up the mountain by a few weeks and it has certainly paid-off, with our lambs and ewes coming down in excellent condition.


The weather permitted us to get some of our first (and only) cut of silage this week – snatching it between shearing, shows and showers. We just hope the remainder of the British summer does not disappoint so we can finish sooner rather than later.


Shows: With the promise of rain at home and shearing under our belt we headed-off for a child-free day at the Royal Welsh Show.


Given its central location and prominence in the Welsh, and indeed, British agricultural calendar, the show has transformed into a showcase for the industry, offering the perfect forum for different stakeholders to meet.


Agricultural shows are becoming ever popular, particularly with non-farming visitors, and although I think their importance in promoting the industry and rural communities is invaluable I can not help but feel, given the nature of a ‘show’, they do not completely represent or reflect the broader industry.


Brexit: Even now I still feel bereft from the outcome of that fateful day in June and for the future of our industry and broader economy.


We are still at the stage where interested stakeholders are grappling for influence, sometimes representing the loudest voice. As such it is critical we unite as an industry and not just focus on the demands and desires of individual businesses.


My hope is we will be able to remain competitive on a European and global front and the agri-environmental foundations laid down by Europe will be built upon by our domestic agricultural policy.


Constraints: I like to think we are younger farmers rather than young farmers.


We are younger farmers constrained by the fact we are not part of a traditional family farm with the network and support which this often provides.


Although my husband has been trading since he was 18 years old, and comes from generations of farmers, our business is only in its infancy, expanding drastically and taking on a tenancy in 2011 and we have had to heavily invest in the business.


Despite a mortgage and rent to pay on top of our continued investment plan, we are optimistic about our future, even though uncertainty lies ahead.


In the meantime we are both determined to play a part in our industry and keen to help shape its future. It is important to get involved at all levels.

 

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