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Young Farmer Focus: Dafydd James - 'I have been promoted from gofer to showman'

Dafydd James, 16, has just finished his GCSEs and is now looking forward to the Royal Welsh Show, where he will exhibit South Devon cattle.

 

His interest is in media and he would like to go into television production.

Family farm: The farm has been in the family for more than 500 years, first as a tenanted farm, then purchased by my great-grandfather in the early 1900s.

 

My father started out as a dairy farmer, but milk quotas forced him to change direction in 1997 and he went into beef breeding, eventually settling on the South Devon breed.

 

He favoured the South Devon as it is a native British breed and is a quiet breed, making it easier to handle when you work on your own. Now we are changing direction again as we prepare to go back into dairy farming.

 

We farm about 65 hectares (160 acres), including some rented land. My brother is keen to farm full-time and expand the farm and, unfortunately, the beef sector is not financially viable for us.

 

I do not see my future as a farmer; for one thing, the farm could not support two families; but the main reason is I see myself working in other areas, possibly with an agricultural connection. My interest is a career in the media industry, either presenting or preparing television programmes.

 

Showing: We will, however, be keeping a small herd of South Devons, five or six breeding cows, and concentrating on the development of the showing team.

 

Our showing has been restricted this year because of my GCSEs, so by the time we reach the Royal Welsh, we will have only been to two local shows. We usually manage to get five shows in before the Royal Welsh and the cattle know the routine. It will be more of a challenge this year, so I hope they behave.

 

We started showing in 2004. I was only two at the time, so most of my summers have been spent at various local and national shows.


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It has been a family hobby and something we have all enjoyed. I have gradually been promoted from the ‘gofer’, washing and preparing the cattle, to showing them.

 

Champion: With a smaller herd, we can now focus on breeding that champion cow. The highlight of our year is always the Royal Welsh Show.

 

It is an amazing feeling to compete in the Royal Welsh before such a large crowd – and an even greater feeling to take part in the grand parades that are held on the Wednesday and Thursday.

 

The adrenalin and buzz of the competition is immense and, win or lose, it is brilliant to have taken part. This year we host the South Devon National Show at the Royal Welsh, so the display of South Devon cattle will be immense.

 

It is a great honour, as it is the first time the South Devon National Show has come to Wales, so we will make sure there is a massive ‘croeso’ (welcome) for all the exhibitors.

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