Farmers want to produce sustainable food and care for the environment, that was the message from 3rd generation livestock farmer Hywel Davies when he met with Welsh Brexit Minister Jeremy Miles AM.
Hywel Davies, who farms at Perthigwion Farm, Rhydfro, Pontardawe, Swansea, opened the gates to the farm, which has been in the family since 1952, showcasing how food production and caring for the environment can and do, go hand in hand.
He owns 250 acres and rents 130 acres, keeping around 1000 sheep, 42 cows with calves as well as breeding around 35 rams a year for sale. The farm also has rights to graze two commons and is part of the Glastir Advanced Scheme.
Speaking on his farm, Hywel said: “I am the 3rd generation to farm this land. I care for it deeply and I care about how our food is produced. We have known for generations that if we look after the environment, the environment will look after us.
“So it worries me that 40% of the food that is being consumed in this country is imported and a fifth of the fresh foods imported come from areas that are threatened with climate chaos.”
Hywel has been actively involved with Coed Cymru and the Forestry Commission since 1988 as well as engaging in various conservation and regeneration schemes that go hand in hand with food production. He added: “Governments must wake up to the fact that farmers here in Wales are the answer to that problem. We support local livestock markets, maintain the local rural economy, support local jobs, as well as producing top-class food. But the way things are looking at the moment, I worry about the future of our sector is.
“Look at the price for sheep wool - it costs £600 for a contractor to shear the sheep and we only receive £200 from the Wool Board. We received £1.50kg for a lamb in Sennybridge Market last week, yet the price was £1.80kg the week before.
“The price of commodities seems to be falling rapidly. And yes, at the moment we can just about handle that, but what happens when we have no markets to sell to in 4 weeks time or we are faced with tariffs that make it impossible to keep producing food or have to deal with further regulations that prevent us from producing food in a sustainable way? Not to mention the very real possibility of direct support disappearing.