Embracing wildlife conservation and food production in Pembrokeshire

Farming has a key role to play in looking after the environment and combating climate change but the production of food must not be excluded from the conversation, according to Pembrokeshire beef, sheep and arable farmer Jayne Richards.

400 breeding ewes, 140 beef cattle, as well as a small suckler herd, call the 350 acres at Jordanston Farm, St Mary’s Park, Jordanston, just outside of Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire their home.

The family have restored hedgerows, look after 6 irrigation ponds and 3 of them are surrounded by scrubland, a great habitat for wildlife but also a carbon store. These ponds are fenced off as wildlife corridors and they link directly to the woodland. Over the years the ponds have been really successful from a wildlife point of view and provide habitat for herons, snipe, many different species of duck and moorhens.

50 acres of woodland surround the farm, creating a big wildlife corridor that has been beneficial for wildlife on the farm and for carbon storage. The woodland includes broadleaf trees such as Ash, Sycamore, Beech and Oak and tawny owls have made a home here too. As part of the environmental work 2 miles of native Thorns and hedgerow trees have also been planted to create a Pembrokeshire hedge.

Being a mixed farm is a good thing for wildlife, Jayne says, because it avoids monoculture, ensures the production of sustainable food with habitat left for wildlife in between the cropping, which enhances the movement of species around the farm.

Looking after the land and producing food has always gone hand in hand at Jordanston farm but whilst the family are enthusiastic about looking after the wildlife and caring for the environment, they are clear that for one aspect to function properly, the other, food production and the role of the livestock must be appreciated.

Farming families like the Richards family are a prime example of the positive work carried out on farms across Wales that help to combat climate change, maintain and enhance biodiversity and habitats, whilst producing sustainable, nutritious food.