Why Glasnant would be an effective mentor
- Glasnant believes one of his greatest assets is his knowledge of farming life. He farmed with his father and brother until 1991 when the family business was divided and he rented an adjoining farm.
- The business has expanded over the years with the total area managed now amounting to more than 400 acres of owned and rented land, including around 70 acres of woodland.
- Glasnant has, like many farmers, experienced tough financial times and was once told that he’d ‘passed the point of no return’ when his borrowings were very high. However, he has been farming debt-free for several years, has bought more land and also installed a hydro scheme.
- Nutrient management planning, growing high quality crops, reseeding some fields with red clover and increasing protein levels while reducing costs, have played a crucial role in ensuring the farm is a profitable enterprise.
- Glasnant tries to keep the business as self-sufficient as possible, growing most of the food on the farm, keeping all stock at home and retaining a closed flock. The Welsh ewes provide replacements for better quality ewes and he fattens lambs without using creep.
- Glasnant is a keen advocate of lifelong learning and sharing experiences with other farmers. He’s been a member of one local Grassland Society for more than 35 years and says the information the group share amongst themselves is invaluable, saving them all significant feed costs.
- Since 2014, the business has diversified into green energy which has provided important new streams of income and will ensure the long-term sustainability and viability of the farm for Glasnant’s three sons, one of whom is a partner on the farm, farming alongside his father.
- Support from Farming Connect has led to numerous facilitated round table discussions about succession planning with all members of the family involved and in agreement on safeguarding both the future of the business and its returns.
Current farm business
- 230 acres owned, 170 acres on a five-year Business Tenancy
- The family, including Glasnant’s wife and one daughter-in-law, make up the labour force on the farm
- 45 suckler cows, Limousin crosses put to a Charolais bull,, calving in the spring and summer. Summer calving cows are turned to the mountain to avoid mastitis and this also releases more ground for mowing. Calves are kept as forward stores
- 800 breeding ewes, Welsh mules and Texel crosses, plus 210 replacements, with half the lambs sold through local markets in May/June. Some yearling rams sold
- 70 acres of farm woodland, mainly planted on awkward ground over the last 20 years. According to an independent report, the farm has been completely carbon neutral for several years and the woodland also creates revenue.
- 20 acres of wholecrop and 20 acres of swedes grown on farm for stock feed
- Plan to trial Miscanthus which would provide a cheap alternative to straw and further contribute to the carbon neutrality of the farm.
- Solar, biomass boiler and hydro electric renewable energy schemes have added value to the business, by utilising the resources already available
- Hosts several farm visits a year with an annual visit from New Zealand farmers through Field Farm Tours and numerous outdoor pursuits establishments throughout the UK
Qualifications/ achievements/ experience
- Member of the Brecon and Wye Valley Grassland Societies
- Fellow of the Council for Awards of Royal Agricultural Societies
- Past NFU Cymru county chairman for Brecon and Radnor
- Vice-chairman for Buckland Manor Common
- Wales and UK Grassland Competition winner 2005
- Young Entrants Support Scheme Mentor from 2010
- Runner up in the UK Silver Lapwing Award for the environment
- Farming Connect Agri Academy Rural Leadership Member, 2019
TOP TIPS FOR BUSINESS SUCCESS
“Don’t overspend, aim for self-sufficiency through a high output of good quality stock with a keen focus on animal health while keeping costs to a minimum. ”
“Take advantage of schemes such as Glastir and green energy if they are suitable for your business.”
“Don’t operate in isolation, share what you are doing with others, we can all learn from each other’s experiences.”
“Look after your physical and mental health, talking with others is key, and there’s always a solution to any problem.”