Ear to the Ground Podcast

Ear to the ground

The ‘Ear to the Ground’ podcast, the first of its kind to be available in both Welsh and English, shares technical information, advice, support and inspiration to the farming community in Wales.

Episodes are just 20/30 minutes long and will include interviews with farmers and industry experts on a range of topical themes. A new episode will be published every fortnight.


 

LATEST EPISODE:

Episode 94 - Staff Management series- Episode 3: What legislation affects you as a farming employer, employee or worker?

All employed agricultural, horticultural and forestry workers in Wales, including workers employed by gang masters and employment agencies, are entitled to at least the Agricultural Minimum Wage. This podcast is intended to help employers of agricultural workers understand and comply with the Agricultural Minimum Wage requirements and other terms and conditions applicable to agricultural workers in Wales and to help workers understand their entitlements. The minimum rates of pay and allowances and other minimum terms and conditions to which agricultural workers, including those who work within the horticulture and forestry sectors, are entitled to by law are set out in the Agricultural Wages (Wales) Order.

The information contained in this episode is provided as guidance only. It should not be seen as providing legal advice on the Agricultural Minimum Wage or on legal mattersgenerally.

 

 

Recent Episodes:

 

Episode 76: Why agriculture was the career of choice for our new entrants panel

The average age of a Welsh farmer is 60, and only 3% of farmers are under 35 - what more can be done to encourage new entrants into agriculture? In our two part series we've asked our first four new entrants to the industry to come together to discuss why they're in the industry, what they love about it and what the challenges are? This episode is also available to watch on our YouTube channel, click on this link and be sure to like the video, subscribe to the channel and hit the bell to be notified of any new content.

Panel: Matt Swarbrick, Peredur Owen, Ernie Richards and Bryn Perry

 

 

Episode 77: Get on the Farming Ladder

The second episode within our new entrant to agriculture series brings together four young farmers which were all raised on family farms in North Wales but have decided to forge their own career in Agriculture through various joint venture agreements and farm management. This episode will hear of the good, the bad and potentially ugly of setting up a joint venture agreement from four panellists that have previously attended the Farming Connect Business Bootcamp and drawn upon the Venture programme to successfully implement a path way into share farming. This episode is also available to watch on our YouTube channel by clicking here.

Panel: Gwydion Owen, Farming Connects Venture Officer is joined by Emyr Owen, newly appointed as Farm Manager at The Rhug Estate in Corwen. Brothers Dafydd and Ifan Owen have also decided to forge their own path in agriculture, Dafydd manages 3000 ewes at Coed Coch, near Colwyn Bay whilst Ifan has entered a partnership on 600 acres of land at Ty Newydd, Nebo, Llanrwst. Ynyr Pugh has been fortunate to secure a joint venture agreement just 10 minutes from his home in Dinas Mawddwy, Machynlleth.

 

 

Episode 78: Should every farm business have a risk assessment plan in place?

In this episode Alison Harvey, Agri Supply Chain Advisor at Rural Advisor talks to Nerys Llewelyn Jones, Agri Advisor's founder director. Most farmers subconsciously who'd have a operational risk assessment plan, but should all businesses have a solid one in place to deal with the unexpected events? Nerys and Alison break down all the elements that should be considered.

 

Episode 79: Encouraging developments for the British wool industry

This episode focuses on the encouraging outlook for sheep farmers in Wales looking for answers to address the disappointing returns for their wool recently. Although the picture again this season looks like a challenging one, there's plenty of activity happening behind the scene's to realise the potential of wool as a natural, sustainable and versatile material. Alison Harvey meets up with three guests that can provide more substance on this important aspect. Gareth Jones, producer marketing manager at British Wool, Sara Jenkins, farmers wife and Farming Connect, Agisgôp leader and Elen Parry from the 'Made with Wool' project which aims to improve people's understanding of this great fibre.

Podlediad rhifyn 79

 

Episode 80: Jim Elizondo Real Wealth Ranching- 'Can we maximise farm profit whilst also enhancing the environment?'


Jim Elizondo is a cattle rancher from Texas who has 30 years’ experience of managing livestock in ranging climatic condition across America and beyond. His passion is helping farmers regenerate their land whilst reaching maximum profitability. He delivers ‘Real Wealth Ranching’ training to clients from across the world and has helped numerous farm businesses reach maximum productivity whilst regenerating their land.

Jim recently presented at Farming Connect events, this episode presented by Cennydd Jones is another opportunity to hear Jim's background and farming philosophy. 

 

Episode 81 - Dairy's ethical future

Angharad Menna, another new presenter on this podcast interviews her first guest, Anna Bowen a Nuffield Scholar (sponsored by Elizabeth Creake Charitable Trust) which has travelled the World to study the future of ethical dairy farming. Within this hour long episode we'll hear in detail of hear experiences in areas such as the feasibility of cow calf contact dairy, the best use of sexed semen along with breeding and rearing dairy beef calves and finding a market for them. Could the dairy industry also learn from horse racing and Its social licence?
 
If this episode incentivises you to broaden your horizons the applications for the 2024 Nuffield Farming Scholarships are now OPEN! The deadline is 31st July 2023, visit their website for more details.

Episode 81 - Dairy's ethical future

 

Episode 82 - Sheep milking in Wales

Lamb, mutton and wool, those are the products we are familiar with when farming sheep in Wales. Now, we should add sheep's milk to the list, as we see 14 farmers this year milking sheep. Two of these innovative individuals join Geraint Hughes for a conversation.  Alan Jones from Chwilog, near Pwllheli and Huw Jones from Llanerchymedd, Anglesey. This edition was recorded from a new processing site, Llaethdy Gwyn in Bethesda, Dyffryn Ogwen, which has been developed by Carrie Rimes specifically to process sheep's milk.

Sheep milk

 

Episode 83- A conversation with Dr Iwan Owen - Forty years of lecturing grassland management at Aberystwyth University

Cennydd Jones, a lecturer at Aberystwyth University and a part-time farmer will be joined by Dr Iwan Owen. Iwan is a well-known name to many former Aberystwyth University Agriculture students, where he was a grassland management lecturer for forty years before he took a well-deserved retirement in 2021. In this episode we will hear about his journey to become a lecturer at WAC (Welsh Agricultural Collage), why doing a degree or further education is useful in an industry that many consider practical. We will also have the opportunity to hear his impressions about the future of agriculture in Wales.

Dr Iwan Owen

 

 

Episode 84 - Staff Management- Episode 1: How to recruit and retain staff

In the first in a series of episodes focusing on staff management, another new presenter to the podcast Rhian Price is joined by Paul Harris, founder of REAL Success, a people consultancy business. Rhian is an award-winning journalist and agricultural PR specialist, she spent 10 years working at Farmers Weekly – seven of them as Livestock Editor before setting up her own Agricultural PR company 'Rhian Price Media'. She now lives on the Shropshire/ Welsh border with her husband and their family on a 280-cow dairy farm.

This episode in the series will discuss why farmers find staff recruitment and retention so difficult, and how farmers can attract and retain the best personnel. They also consider what you should do to keep staff happy and motivated.

 

Episode 85 - Embracing Change: Claire Jones discusses Dairy Diversification at Pant Farm, Llanddewi Brefi

It’s a pleasure to welcome Claire Jones to the podcast, this episode is recorded at this years Innovation and Diversification event at Builth Wells. If you’re active on social media many would have come across Claire as ‘_farmers_wife_’ on instagram, she does an excellent job of promoting and informing her audience of the busy farming life at Pant Farm Llanddewi which we will delve deeper into during this podcast. Many business are here to establish what Innovation or diversification opportunities they can introduce to their business and we’ll hear within this episode how Claire alongside her husband, Stephen and the family, decided a couple of years ago to diversify from beef and sheep farming to producing milk.

 

Episode 86 - What to consider before diversifying?

David Selwyn- Landsker is joined by two individuals who have set up novel businesses on farm. Rhys Jones is the founder of a thriving fitness business, Cattle Strength, which delivers a personalised and premium approach to personal training which is served in a private gym facility on a farm in West Wales. Laura Lewis has established Squirrels Nest, one of the UK's most popular treehouse retreats on the family farm in the Heart of Wales.

What to consider before diversifying

 

 

Episode 87 - A conversation with Dilwyn the vet

In this episode Rhian Price is joined by Dilwyn Evans, farm vet and star of Clarkson’s Farm. Dilwyn was bought up on a dairy farm near Tregaron and has been a farm vet for more than 30 years, having graduated from Edinburgh Vet School in 1986. He has spent most of his career working as a mixed vet at Bridge Vets in Gloucestershire after a brief stint in North Wales. Most recently, Dilwyn made his debut in February when the hit series Clarkson’s Farm returned to our TV screens for a second series.

 

 

Episode 88 - Woodland management and adding value to timber at Fron Haul, Abergele

Our Forestry & Farm Woodland Specialist, Geraint Jones is joined by David Brown and Ruth Pybus prior to welcoming other farmers to their event at Fron Haul on the 17th of November. Fron Haul is a mixed farm that has integrated tree's with livestock to form a fundamental part of the business. For a preview of what to expect on their farm walk and to discover sustainable woodland management working listen to this episode.

 

 

Episode 89 - Is joint venture the answer to an ageing industry?

Alison Harvey presents a panel discussion between a member of the Agri Academy Alice Bacon and Anna Bowen, who have formed their own joint venture agreements. We hear how share and contract farming agreements have allowed them the opportunity to be the decision makers on farm and run their own business. Eiry Williams, Farming Connect Succession Facilitator will also join the conversation to highlight how the Start to Farm programme can support to match farmers and landowners who are looking to step back from the industry with new entrants looking for a way into farming.

Episode 89

 

 

Episode 90 - Diversification opportunities within the horticulture industry in Wales

A recent report suggests that we produce 3.5% of the fruit and veg we consume as a population here in Wales. If you're a farmer looking to diversify or add another enterprise on farm this podcast could incentives you to look at the options. 

Join our three panellists- John Morris and his family from Crickhowell have 8 enterprises on the farm, he describes himself as a 'land use operator' being able to generate an income from a relatively small farm through several diversification initiatives. We also here from Edward Morgan, representing Castell Howell Foods that are this year celebrating 35 years of business and have grown to become Wales’ leading independent food service wholesaler. Edward outlines the possible opportunities and gaps in the market that we should consider. Sarah Gould, Horticulture Manager at Lantra outlines how Farming Connect can assist if this episode has resonated with you!

opportunities within the horticulture

 

Episode 91 - Unearthing another potential opportunity in rural Wales

This episode will expose the potential opportunity within the commercial ornamental industry. As part of the horticulture sector, according to a recent report from Tyfu Cymru It employees 19,800 people here in Wales and generates 40 million pounds worth of production at farm gate prices. Geraint Hughes is joined by Neville Stein MBE and Sarah Gould. Neville has spent 46 years within the horticulture industry and has been working as a consultant for growers world wide.

This half an hour long episode will share a vision of how this sector has massive demand and opportunity that can play an important part in the vibrancy of the rural sector in Wales.

Unearthing another potential opportunity in rural Wales
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Episode 92 - An insight into the current situation in terms of the carbon footprint of beef and sheep farms in Wales

Cennydd Jones is joined by Non Williams, Carbon Specialist Officer at Farming Connect.

This episode is based on the findings of carbon footprint audits completed on 185 beef and sheep farms through the Farming Connect Advisory Service. The purpose of this short study was to summarize the results of these inspections completed in 2022 in order to extract useful figures that will give insight into the current situation in terms of the carbon footprint of beef and sheep farms in Wales.

A Farming Connect study on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced by red meat enterprises has shown that Welsh farms are below the benchmark for similar farms across the UK. Listen for more information!

Useful links-

Episode 93

- Staff Management series- Episode 2: Staff contracts

Rhian Price is joined by Rhodri Jones, Director at Rural Advisor. Rhodri is a qualified solicitor that specialises in rural legal matters. Along side his work commitments he also farms a spring calving herd at Llanerfyl, Montgomeryshire with his wife Siwan.
 
This episode will focus on the legalities of employment and why It's important to have a robust recorded staff contract in place. If your an employer or employee within the Agri sector this episode will provide a wealth of information to consider in this half an hour long episode.