Why James would be an effective mentor

  • Beef, sheep and pig farmer James has first hand understanding of restrictive issues within farming industry.
  • James keeps a flock of 1,000 ewes, mostly Aberfield which are put to Aberblack rams. He also keeps Texels. Lambs are contracted to Tesco on Cost Of Production contract. James runs a low input rotational grazing system which concentrates on productive genetics, grazing quality and minimal antibiotics.
  • James practices a progressive approach to farming and ensures that he is aware of any impacts on the environment.  This includes no till, catch cropping and multi species leys. The business also makes use of renewables including a biomass boiler, solid fuel and solar panels. Always interested in new opportunities to earn additional income, James diversified and now runs a holiday cottage.
  • With the belief that you should challenge yourself, James has travelled far and wide to gain new experiences. Awarded a YFC scholarship in 2003, he travelled to Kenya before going on to travel independently through Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. After returning home, he raised funds locally and returned to rural Kenya where he set up projects in schools to promote beekeeping and micro agriculture, enabling entrepreneurial spirit and better nutrition.
  • Passionate about mental health and wellbeing, James believes it is important to discuss these subjects openly.
  • James has strong connections with rural young movements and is passionate about securing a sustainable future in agriculture for future generations. With an extensive network of contacts, James is always up to speed with the latest developments within the industry. He also employs apprentices to work on the farm so that young farmers can have practical farming experience.
  • Dolygarn is a new Farming Connect Demonstration Farm for 2019, having been a Focus Farm for the previous year running a project implementing rotational grazing for an all grass wintering system. James has also benefited from other Farming Connect services including Agrisgôp and the Agri Academy.
  • James can provide support on the new agricultural pollution regulations.
  • James can also provide support with reducing input costs.

Current farm business

  • 480 acres of upland owned
  • 1,000 pigs, run on B&B contract finishing system
  • 40 self-replacing suckler cows
  • 240 calves reared on contract per year
  • 1,000 breeding ewes comprising of:
    - 500 Aberfield crossed ewes with Aberblack to produce terminal lambs, all contracted to Tesco on a COP contract.
    - 500 maternal breeding ewes are put to Aberfield rams for breed replacements with surplus and males contracted to Tesco on a COP contract.
  • 25-acre woodland, planted in 2018 under the Glastir Woodland Creation Scheme
  • 2 luxury holiday cottages with hot tubs
  • Small flock of hens with eggs sold to holiday makers and locals
  • Biomass boiler, solid fuel & solar panels
  • EID reader on sheep weigh crate

Qualifications/ achievements/ experience

  • 1995: HNC in Agriculture, Coleg Powys
  • 2000: YFC Chairman
  • 2003: Kenya YFC Scholarship
  • 2013: Agri Academy Business & Innovation Programme, Farming Connect
  • 2014: HCC Scholarship
  • 2014 – 2018: NFU Next Generation Alumni
  • 2016 – present: ‘In Your Field’ Columnist, Farmers Guardian
  • 2017: Chairman, Upper Severn Grassland Society
  • 2017: Agri Academy Rural Leadership Programme, Farming Connect
  • 2018 – present: Farming Connect Focus Farm
  • 2019 – present: Farming Connect Demonstration Farm


“Don’t be afraid to fail. Learn from it and persevere.”

“Surround yourself with positive people.”

“Know your strengths and leverage your weaknesses, they will be someone else’s strengths.”