Hilary farms in North Wales, her main holding is a 66 acre upland farm with mountain rights on Llanllechid common. She also rents and manages the grazing on a range of SSSIs and nature reserves. Hilary is passionate about nature and wildlife and has found that it can fit into our farming system. She is keen to reduce inputs and manage the land and livestock as naturally as possible.
Sorcha lives in the beautiful Elan Valley in Mid Wales where she farms with her husband and 2 children on an upland hill farm. She is passionate about promoting how amazing our uplands can be, the variety of wildlife that depend upon them and the people that help maintain them.
Gethin Owen farms 110ha at Nant-yr-Efail near Abergele on the North Wales coast with his family, and is a former regional winner of the RSPB Nature of Farming award. He farms 35 suckler cows and 650 ewes, and also grows spring oats and barley, forage peas, swedes and red clover. The farm is run following traditional principles of variety in space & time and being as self-sufficient as possible to reduce input costs. The farm has been within the Glastir Advanced and Tir Gofal agri-environment schemes since 2008, and has resulted in significant environmental improvement & habitat creation, including several kilometres of hedgerow planting and restoration and provision of overwintered stubbles for many species of seed-eating birds. Gethin is passionate about creating a home for wildlife, and demonstrating that this can be mutually beneficial in its co-existence with productive and sustainable agriculture.
Polly is a mixed organic tenant farmer in South Wales, with a large range of agri- environmental management options undertaken, due to the Glastir Advanced contract with the Welsh Government. The farm enterprises include a beef suckler herd, 600 Romney Ewes & 80ha of organic cereals in rotation, including Spelt, Spring Wheat, Spring Barley, Spring Oats & Spring Beans. There is also a small number of Gloucester old spot pigs to supply the small farm butchery and meat box delivery business. Polly is passionate about increasing the farm yields both in ecology and improved organic agronomy, so the environmental management options are not a fringe to the farming enterprise but embedded within the whole farming system.
Tony is a fifth generation tenant farmer on a Mountain farm in Mid Wales, over 80% of the land has SSSI status. The farm management focuses on environmental improvements supported with Organic, Glastir Advanced and Woodland Creation agreements. This nature friendly habitat is managed by a flock of Welsh Mountain sheep and a herd of Dexter cows. The remote off-grid farm depends on solar PV for electricity and biomass for heating. Tony also produces biochar from low quality forage for use as a carbon sequestering compost improver.
Teleri is a first generation farmer who started off gaining work experience on local farms as a teenager. She now runs a National Trust 600 acre hill farm in Snowdonia, on a Young Farmers Club & National Trust scholarship scheme. The farm keeps Welsh Mountain Sheep and Welsh Black Cattle at very low stocking rates within Glastir Advanced. The specific grazing prescriptions and invasive species control have created a mosaic of woody heath, boggy mire, woodland and ffridd habitat. Teleri has worked in various roles within the food and farming system; from policy work to marketing local produce, to waitressing to farmers unions! But after spending a couple of years working and studying on an Ecological research farm in France, she decided farming (and shepherding) was definitely where her passion lay. She also believes farming is the most direct way to improve our food system to benefit both the environment and society.
Although from a farming background, Sam didn’t start working in agriculture until her mid-thirties. Now living on the banks of the River Elwy in North Wales, her holding comprises of lowland fertile flood plain and ancient steep woodland. She is passionate about health, welfare and the behaviour of both livestock and wildlife. Sam believes strongly that a biodiverse and regenerative approach to farming and our soils are key to reversing the global climate crisis. By re-sowing maize fields with species rich permanent pasture mixes as well as planting hedgerows and trees, Sam is working for soil resilience, reduced erosion, increased carbon sequestration all year round and a complete regenerative system encompassing livestock and nature.
Hywel farms beef and sheep at Esgairllaethdy Myddfai, Llandovery, on the western end of the Brecon Beacons. The farm comprises 230 acres, including 50 acres of conservation grazing, plus grazing rights on the adjoining common land known as Myndd Du, where his cattle help manage the land for biodiversity. There are also 25 acres of native woodland. Hywel is passionate about selling his produce direct to customers, where he loves talking about how his animals are reared and the important role they play. He believes farmers and consumers need to connect more and together, can drive change for a better planet. Hywel plants thousands of trees every year in hedgerows, and lets these hedges grow up and out to provide shelter for livestock, plus food for wildlife. He believes biodiverse rich upland farms are underestimated for the amount of carbon they already sequester, through rich tapestries of grasses and mosses. Hywel champions a working farmed landscape, the importance of rural communities and how vital it is that we protect our farm businesses for future farming generations.