MEIRIONNYDD FARMER DIVERSIFIES IN PREPARATION FOR CAP REFORM
A Meirionnydd farmer has gone the extra mile to ensure he is financially prepared to deal with a possible cut in his single farm payment following CAP reform and the loss of income after his Tir Gofal scheme comes to an end.
Farmers' Union of Wales member Geraint Edwards, 41, who farms 600 acres of severely disadvantaged land at Drws Nant, Llanuwchllyn, has renovated two farm holiday cottages to an exceptional standard in order to boost the farm's income.
The farm, which carries 360 ewes and eight suckler cows, has been under the Tir Gofal agreement which comes to a close by the end of the year. The farm entered the pilot Tir Cymen scheme 1992 and afterwards entered the Tir Gofal scheme.
"With income from the Tir Gofal scheme ending by the end of this year and the uncertainties of the single farm payment under the CAP reform, we had to look around for other sources of income," said Mr Edwards.
"As we are in such a beautiful area which is popular with tourists, we diversified by renovating two holiday cottages on the farm and are also looking to join the Glastir scheme.
"When we bought Talybont back in 2001 it had been uninhabited for 25 years so there was quite a lot of work to be done. We used local craftsmen and sourced material locally where we could and it now sleeps four to six people comfortably.
"Ty Mawr, which sleeps four to five people, was purchased in 2012. The previous owner of the cottage had carried out a great deal of the work and I felt that there were obvious advantages in completing the property.
"We look forward to what promises to be an exciting new business venture for us," added Mr Edwards.
Both cottages are let through Dioni.co.uk, a website for self-catering Snowdonia Holiday Cottages run by Gwion Llwyd of Byrdir, Dyfryn Ardudwy, Gwynedd.
FUW president Emyr Jones, who officially opened the two cottages, said: "Geraint is an example of a young farmer who is absolutely determined to work hard to maximise the farm income and we wish him the best of luck in his new business venture."
Dwyfor Meirionnydd MP Elfyn Llwyd, who attended the opening, said: "Geraint needs to be warmly congratulated on completing these two cottages to such an outstandingly high standard."