Dairy farming is essential, says Anglesey farmer
Farming families are the bedrock of local communities and essential when it comes to sustainable food production and climate change mitigation. That’s the message from Anglesey dairy farmer William Williams, who looks after 200 dairy cows at Clwch Dernog Bach, Llanddeusant, which includes 400 rented and 80 acres of owned land.
The change in farming on the island of Anglesey William says has had an impact on the local community and as a result of farming changing, some holdings merging, schools have also had to amalgamate, changing the community structure. The smaller farms have gone, just as the smaller schools and Williams says it shows that farming families keep local communities alive, as well as our culture and the Welsh language.
William ensures that the soil is healthy and the grass grows aplenty.The maize the family grow benefits only from cow manure with no artificial fertilizer used and cows are well looked after too all through the year.
When it comes to greenhouse gasses and the effect dairy farming has on the climate, he gets frustrated that the distinction between carbon dioxide and methane is often not made. The family take their responsibility to look after the environment seriously and have worked with their milk buyer Glanbia on a carbon audit to see where they can improve.
Farmers here in Wales are already making a positive contribution through sequestering carbon in soils and hedgerows, and cutting emissions and William says that when it comes to carbon audits, the role of grasses and hedgerows need to be taken into account, rather than simply relying on vast tree plantation projects.
Milk and dairy products, Williams says, must remain in the food chain, for food security and nutritional reasons, as we don’t want to find ourselves in a situation in years to come when there are no more dairy farmers. William is clear that dairy farmers in Wales, the UK and across the world, are part of the sustainable solution and can be part of future sustainable food systems.