Farming Connect Study Visit - Brecknock Rural Affairs Trip

Funded through the Knowledge Transfer, Innovation and Advisory Service programme under the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020

Brecknock Rural Affairs Trip


23 - 26 June 2022

1    Background

We are a group of Brecknock YFC members who hold discussion evenings, attend farm visits and have a keen interest in rural affairs. We are all based in South Powys, and principally, our members are aged between 10-28, but we also include past members in some of our trips. Our aim is to increase the knowledge transfer between members within the county on issues which affect the farming community and rural life. 

After two years of isolation, we organised an educational rural affairs trip to Scotland. During our 4-day study tour, we visited the Royal Highland Show (RHS), as well as two farms, which provided insights to our members of different farming methods. 

The RHS is an exemplar in the demonstration of new farming methods and ideas, application of technology to the agricultural industry and an opportunity to exchange views and opinions with other leaders in farming and rural industries. 

The main aim of the visit was to discover and learn about different farm practices and experience the diverse range of trades and exhibits on offer at the Royal Highland Show.

1.1    Attendees

Megan Powell

Charlie Baldwyn

Jack Baldwyn

Ffion Havard

Nia Havard

Elin Havard

Dafydd Havard

Emma Powell

Richard Davies

Ryan Watkins

Leanne Davies

Chris Davies

Emma Rees

Lewis Davies

Angharad Jones

Baden Davies

Stephen Matthews

Rhiannon Chamberlain

Bethan Chamberlain

Scott Rees

Hannah Jones

Gethin Williams

Josh Morgan

Tom Phillips

Dewi Jones

Elin Meredith

Chloe Hyde

Kelsey Pritchard

Josh Prichard

Lewis Pritchard


2    Itinerary 


2.1    Day 1

Day 1 was primarily spent travelling from Brecon up the West Coast of England. With strict instructions from Meg to not be late, we set off at 8:30 and made good time.

Brades Farm

Our first farm visit was to Brades Farm, a dairy farm in Lancashire that is currently managed by two generations of the Towers family. They have developed a specialty barista milk, using a combination of milk from Holstein Friesian and Jersey cows. They produce barista milk for some of the country’s top coffee shops and created a product that is consumer-centric. The purpose of our visit was to understand how Brades Farm were able to create a customer focused product while driving innovation and sustainable farming practices. It was clear to see that Ed at Brades Farm was a natural innovator, from creating movable calf rearing units using old gates to introducing a Segway into the parlour to create less strain on the body when milking. Equally, Brades Farm understood the evolving demands of the consumer and were altering their practices to reflect this, with particular reference to climatic impact. An example of this would be the inclusion of Mootral into the cows’ diets. Mootral is a feed additive that contains allicin obtained from garlic, as well as a by-product of orange processing, referred to as citrus extract. The product works by killing or stifling the ‘bad’ bacteria that compete with cows for food by lingering in their guts. The key learning outcome of this tour was to always be willing to try something new and to not be afraid of failure. We left Brades Farm and continued on our journey. We stopped briefly at Tebay Services and finished our journey for the day in Carlisle. 


2.2    Day 2

The Wee Farm Distillery 

The Wee Farm Distillery can be found on a small livestock farm in South Lanarkshire. The business was founded in 2018 by Jenny McKerr. Jenny radiated a positive attitude and this was fundamental to ensure the success of the business. The Wee Farm Distillery has a range of over 30 gin liqueurs, with the majority of sales being made directly to the consumer. Jenny’s product is focused around Scottish culture such as her Drovers gin, which was inspired by the spirit and resilience of the men and women who contribute towards Scotland’s thriving agricultural sector. Jenny has also diversified further by creating a luxury holiday cottage on the farm, as well as a farm shop selling local produce. 


In the evening, the attendees explored the more urban side of Scotland by spending the rest of the day sightseeing around Edinburgh, and an opportunity to discuss what they had seen and learnt earlier in the trip. 


2.3    Day 3

Royal Highland Show 

This was the highlight of our trip. We separated into smaller groups, with each group obtaining varying learning outcomes from the day. This ranged from speaking about the importance of water quality and usage, engaging with retailers over different supply chain opportunities for young farmers to browsing the different and novel types of innovation and technology on display. The day was topped off when Dewi Jones, a Brecknockshire member on the trip was awarded 2nd place in the Intermediate Shearing competition. 


2.4    Day 4

Journey home!


3    Next Steps

The feedback from members has been overwhelmingly positive. The success of this trip has caused the group to grow as a cohesive unit, offering mutual support. The attendees took considerable inspiration from the businesses and enterprises we visited. Resilience and adaptability were two recurring themes amongst the farmers and business owners who spoke to us, and these are notions that the attendees are aiming to emulate within their own businesses going forward.

The Rural Affairs Committee are already discussing the next trip and opportunities to build a wider rural affairs network with other federations. Equally, the Rural Affairs Committee are also offering support to attendees as they embark down different development pathways as a result of the trip, as well as providing opportunities to build their knowledge further through more local discussion groups and farm tours.