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Leaving the EU ‘not a smart move’ for agriculture



Simon Lloyd-Williams: Keeping a watchful eye on the family bull

Simon Lloyd-Williams: Keeping a watchful eye on the family bull

NESTLED in the Cambrian Mountains of Mid-Wales, just a short drive outside of Aberystwyth, lies Moelgolomen farm.

The organic 750 acre holding is home to Rhodri Lloyd-Williams, his wife Sarah and their three children – sixyear old Elen, three-year old Ariana, one-year old Cai, as well as 750 Welsh Mountain ewes and 25 Welsh Black suckler cows.

Helping with the running of the holding are Rhodri’s parents, Simon and Monica, who took the farm over in 1975, which has been in the family for over 400 years.

Rhodri and Sarah set up a boxscheme in December last year in a bid to diversify and to offer the community the chance to reduce food miles and purchase their food direct from the farm.

Lambs for the box scheme are butchered just down the road in Machynlleth before being boxed and delivered fresh direct to their customers.

“We’ve always done home kills of our lambs for ourselves (why would we settle for anything less?!) and over the years we started doing a few more for family, and then for friends and then for friends of friends until before long we had orders coming in from everywhere, which is why we decided to set up to make it easier for people to order and for customers to see where their lamb is coming from,” said Rhodri.

The family also sell their lambs via Dunbia, Llanybydder, where between 5 and 10 percent of it is sold as organic produce throughout UK supermarkets. The rest, accounting for over 80 percent, is exported to Europe.

Rhodri explains that: “for organic lamb to be sold here in the UK the supermarkets want it to weigh in at over 15kg. Because our Welsh Mountain lambs don’t always come in at that weight most of it gets exported to parts of Europe where consumers prefer smaller lambs.”

The Welsh Black cattle are sold as stores at 18 months of age to an organic buyer.

“We pride ourselves on our ethical and sustainable approach to agriculture and have farmed organically since 1999. We have always looked to farm in a sustainable way creating not only an environment where livestock can thrive but also one that is sympathetic to the environment,” Rhodri said.

Moelgolomen farm has been involved in a number of environmental schemes and is currently in the Glastir Scheme.

In the last few years the family have planted up over 30 acres of woodland as well as an orchard and a few miles of hedgerows to create a variety of habitats for wildlife to thrive.

“We’ve planted tens of thousands of trees in the last 20 or so years. Some in our area of ancient Oak woodland, which we stock excluded in the year 2000 and added to the original Oaks upwards of 20,000 trees including Welsh Oak, Scots Pine, Hazel, Willow, Sweet Chestnut, Holly, Cherry and a number of other native tree species.

“Since we’ve fenced the area off we’ve seen other trees self-seed such as Ash, Rowan, Beech and Birch, to leave a rich and varied woodland teeming with life,” explains Rhodri.

In addition to the woodland Rhodri and his family have also planted a few miles of hedgerows around fields, having double fenced areas to keep the livestock out.

“We now have these wildlife corridors linking large areas of the farm allowing wild animals to travel long distances without having to venture from the sanctuary of the hedge lines,” he added.

The family have also installed a hydro-scheme and solar PV so that most of their electrical needs are generated on farm and the rest is imported from a green energy company so the entire farm is powered by renewable sources.

Speaking about their commitment to renewable energy, Rhodri says: “In 2012 our hydro scheme came online which meant for large periods of the winter (and more often than not most of the summer too) the farmhouse and all the sheds were powered by electricity generated on farm.

“As we feel so strongly about renewable technology we have subsequently switched our energy suppliers to a renewable energy company so that even when we are enjoying a dry spell our carbon footprint is minimal.”

The farmhouse lies at 600 feet above sea level with the tops of the hills stretching up to 1500 feet on the fell, allowing the stock to have a large area to roam and a great variety in grasses, clovers and herbs which helps create the distinctive taste of the Welsh Mountain lamb, and because they are left to develop naturally on the hills, the animals mature slowly to create that rich flavour and lean meat associated with their lambs.

“All our sheep lamb outside in March and April, and once they’ve left the lambing fields, after a few days they’re free to roam the hills and enjoy the views.”

And while all seems perfectly idyllic, there is something that worries the family – the upcoming EU referendum.

“I feel responsible for Moelgolomen farm – it has been in our family for over 400 years. And whilst we look at all options to be sustainable and profitable, we are just like many other family farms in Wales, reliant on not just the Single Farm Payment but also access to the European market,” said Rhodri.

The family father of three is under no illusion that things would be very different for his business if the UK chose to leave the European Union in June.

“I would almost certainly be worse off. In all honesty, leaving the EU is not going to be a smart move for agriculture and for the economy as a whole.

“Over 80 percent of my produce gets exported to a market that has access to over 500 million customers – why would I want to put that at risk?

“Those who say we can set up our own trade agreements need to realise that it is not in the interest of the EU to see the UK succeed outside of the European Union and I think they would make it extremely difficult for us to trade with them.

“If it was easy for the UK to access that market after a Brexit – what is there to stop others from leaving as well?

“The thought of putting our family business at risk with the possibility of losing it is just not a chance I want to take.

“The EU is not perfect, that much we know and that’s why we are having this referendum in the first place. People are not happy with the status quo and politicians need to listen.

“But what good could come from walking away from the negotiating table? Let’s do the right thing and keep the conversations open. That way we have a chance of making a change that will affect us positively.”

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Two years of Active Travel improvements worth £336,750 completed in Cardigan



Councillor John Adams Lewis: On the newly widened footway

WORK has recently been completed by Ceredigion County Council to widen the footway on Pont y Cleifion Road, which sees the culmination of a two year package of grant-funded Active Travel improvements in Cardigan.

Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Ray Quant MBE, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Technical Services said, “I’m delighted that grant funding of £294,575 has been received from the Welsh Government’s Local Transport Fund over the two year programme. Coupled with financial contributions also made by Ceredigion County Council and Cardigan Town Council, the total value of this package scheme amounted to £336,750 to benefit the well-being of residents of Cardigan town. Further potential improvements have been identified by Highways Officers and these will be developed next year with a view to future implementation and construction.”

During the first year, the improvements were concentrated in the vicinity of Cardigan Primary School, which saw the introduction of a new 20 mph zone with traffic calming, wider footways, upgraded crossings and a new path to the swimming pool. A new cycle shelter and two new scooter shelters were installed at the primary school to help encourage more Active Travel journeys and less car trips. This was aided further by providing two brand new scooters and helmets which the school have used for pupils to earn ‘Scooterer of the week’.

The second year saw a 20 mph zone and traffic calming implemented outside Cardigan Secondary School, again with wider footways and new raised table crossings to aid pedestrians and mobility users. A new cycle shelter was installed to encourage pupils and staff to cycle to the school. The scheme included completion of the ‘missing’ footway link to the other side of the road on Aberystwyth Road with new resurfacing which has improved pedestrian connectivity and user comfort.

A new pedestrian refuge was also installed in the carriageway to aid crossing on Aberystwyth Road. The footway on Pont y Cleifion road was previously narrow and unsuitable for pushchair or mobility users due to the lack of dropped kerb provision. However the recent construction works have brought this section of footway up to modern design standards and provides a better quality Active Travel link between the town centre and the Parc Teifi Business Park.

Councillor John Adams-Lewis, Local Member for Mwldan ward and Chair of governors for Cardigan Primary School added, “I’m pleased that Cardigan Town Council has supported these improvements financially which has resulted in a number of footway enhancements in the town, especially at both our school locations which have benefited from road safety improvements and reduced speed limits. I would also like to thank Ceredigion County Council for their financial contributions and to Highways Officers for securing this grant funding and for overseeing these high quality works.”

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Police warn online trolls over ‘malicious’ Kiara comments



DYFED-POWYS POLICE have warned online trolls that they may take action against malicious comments relating to Kiara Moore, the 2-year-old child who sadly died in the River Teifi on Monday (Mar 19).

Her mother, Kim Rowlands, and father, Jet Moore, both posted on social media site Facebook following their daughter’s death.

Jet, responding to questions about the incident, said that it was a tragic accident.

Jet Moore: Explained what happened in Cardigan

He posted: “Just to let every one who keeps asking how know, it was the lemons stacked up too far!

“They got in the car to go home. Sat on bank card which snapped and needed money to get home etc.

“Went back to the office to get money from the desk and came back to no car. Looked in the river, no signs. So we thought she and the car had been taken.

“The police found the car a while later and went way beyond the call of duty jumping in and pulling her out.

“They tried to revive her for hours but unfortunately could not.

“Everyone had done their best.

“Thank you all so much for the support it means the world!”

Kim Rowlands: With her daughter, Kiara

His partner, Kim, added in a separate post: “Sadly yesterday my beautiful baby girl passed away!

“Due to my own stupidity, I will have to live with the guilt for the rest of my life!

“Mummy loves you baby girl and I’m so sorry.”

Many users of the social network commented on the posts which caused offence to many readers.

Now Dyfed-Powys Police has warned people to ‘think very carefully’ before commenting, and not to speculate about the events of Monday afternoon.

A spokesperson said: “Enquiries are continuing to fully understand the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident.

“Examination of the vehicle will form part of these enquiries.

“We can also confirm that the vehicle had not been stolen.

“We are aware of potentially malicious comments relating to the incident on social media. These are being reviewed and action may be taken where appropriate.”

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Two cardigan women warned of jail time



TWO Cardigan women have been warned they could go to jail.

Sarah Prytherch-Jones and Sarah Murnane appeared before Miss Recorder Elwen Evans at Swansea Crown Court for a plea and trial preparation hearing.

Prytherch-Jones, aged 32, of North Road, and Murnane, 35, of Greenfield Row, admitted breaking into a property on St Mary Street, Cardigan, on September 8, 2016, with the intention of causing criminal damage.

The plea was accepted by Nicola Powell, prosecuting, and a charge of burglary with the intention of causing grievous bodily harm was withdrawn.

They will be sentenced on April 3.

Miss Recorder Evans warned them that the offence was a serious one and that a jail sentence would be at the forefront of the sentencing judge’s mind.

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