FUW puts spotlight on renewable energy at farm visit

The Meirionnydd branch of the Farmers’ Union of Wales has organised a farm visit to take place on Monday September 28 at Castell Hen, Parc near Bala, to discuss renewable energy schemes, Glastir and a variety of other agricultural policies.

In conjunction with FWAG Cymru, Dolgellau - FUW Meirionnydd county chairman Euros Puw and his wife Haf are opening the gates to their farm at 11am for visitors to see the land, stock and the hydroelectric scheme which serves the electricity requirements of the farm.

FUW Meirionnydd county executive officer Huw Jones said: “We look forward to welcoming our president Glyn Roberts, FWAG Cymru chairman Tegwyn Jones and Alun Fred Jones AM, who chairs the Environment and Sustainability committee at the Welsh Assembly, to the farm and hope that many of our members and friends of the union can join us.

“This is an ideal opportunity for visitors to discuss the latest agricultural policies and see how the family at Castell Hen are pioneers in renewable energy. There has been a hydro scheme at the farm since 1937 to produce electricity for their own use. The scheme was updated in 2003 and they are also currently in the process of setting up a new separate hydro scheme.”

Castell Hen is situated at approx. 2 miles from the village of Parc near Bala and the family farm extends to 740 acres, together with grazing rights on nearby common land.

The majority is mountain land with approx. 25 acres kept annually for silage making, 60 acres improved grazing land, and 100 acres of semi improved ‘ffridd’.

High quality stock are kept, which includes 650 Welsh mountain ewes, 240 of which are crossed with Texel rams every year, with the remainder purebred. There is also a herd of 19 Limousin cows. Calves are sold as store between 17-23 months at the livestock market in Dolgellau.

“Castell Hen has been able to take advantage of agri-environment schemes over the years, and the family see farming and conservation going hand in hand. The farm was part of the Tir Cymen Scheme when Meirionnydd was chosen as a pilot area in the 1990’s, and thereafter the farm was part of the Tir Gofal Scheme until joining Glastir Scheme in 2014,” added Mr Jones.

The farm has also been fortunate in being chosen for the Glastir Advanced Scheme which is run concurrent with Glastir Entry since January 2014.

The farm Castell Hen, or ‘Styllen’ as it is known locally has been farmed by Euros’ family since 1790, and he and his family have lived there since 2001 when he took over the business from his parents.

Mr Puw left the Welsh Agricultural College at Aberystwyth in 1986 to come home to farm. He is married to Haf, and they have 3 children; Gweno 22, Owain 20, and Ceredig 16. Gweno works with Farming Connect in Aberystwyth; Owain is studying agriculture at Aberystwyth University, and is presently visiting New Zealand as part of his agricultural course in Aberystwyth; and Ceredig has just completed his GCSE’s recently and will soon start a furniture renovation course at Aberteifi College. Mrs Puw works part time at Ysgol y Berwyn, y Bala as a personal assistant, which includes 6th form activities.

Mr Puw carries out a great deal of agriculture contracting work within his local area such as harvesting, big bale wrapping, fertiliser spreading etc to supplement the farm income. He relies heavily on members of his family in this venture which includes his brother Iolo who is a carpenter living locally.

“On behalf of the FUW and FWAG Cymru – I would like to extend a warm welcome to those interested in learning more about renewable energy and seeing the Glastir scheme in action. There will be light refreshments available, kindly sponsored by Birch Farm Plastics, and FWAG and we look forward to what promises to be a most informative and enjoyable day,” added Mr Jones.