Why Walter would be an effective mentor
- Walter is responsible for the day-to-day operation and long-term strategic planning of the 340 acre farm business he runs in partnership with his wife. Having made the decision to change the direction of the business in1999, he has first-hand experience of moving away from large-scale dairy, beef and sheep farming to focus entirely on grassland, crops and horticulture.
- With 40 plus years’ experience in the farming industry, running his own successful business along with representing the interests of farmers and growers on numerous rural bodies, including voluntary roles appointed by ministers, Walter has gained a wide range of knowledge, contacts and expertise.
- A Nuffield scholar, since 2017 he has also been a Nuffield Farming Scholarship mentor. Walter’s significant experience as a farmer, businessman and experienced rural expert, together with very finely attuned listening and questioning skills gained through many years of supporting and mentoring others, are traits he looks forward to using as a Farming Connect mentor. He has a wide range of specialisms, so you’ll find him an experienced and authoritative voice on numerous topics. Expect well-informed answers to your questions!
- Having held roles with both NFU Cymru and CLA Wales as a board member and Chairman of numerous committees, his focus is always to do all he can to help further the industry and rural businesses in Wales.
- As a progressive and dynamic farmer who has run a successful farm business and someone who clearly had the confidence and skills to change the strategic direction of that farm, he also has first-hand experience of smaller diversification ventures. You will find Walter sympathetic and understanding of the stresses, issues and challenges that can occur when running your own business, and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you to help you meet your own personal and business objectives.
Current farm business
- Managing partner (with wife) of family farming partnership
- Owner occupier of 340 acres (mainly sandy loam to heavy clay), including 40 acres woodland, 15 acre lake, Bronze age round barrows, Grade 2* listed farmstead, four cottages, etc
- Currently growing 150 acres potatoes, harvested from mid-July for packing.
- LEAF Assured Farm 2022 onwards
- 1 full time employee, plus harvest casuals
- Whole farm was in Tir Gofal Agri Environment Scheme 2005 - 2014
- Growing Miscanthus on 10 acres as a bio-bedding.
- Rent out fishing on 15 acre lake to local angling club.
- Woodland Grant Scheme on 10 acres.
- 1999 fundamental change in the business. From having five full time employees, 120 dairy cows, 500 breeding ewes, 80 head beef, 80 acres early potatoes, 20 acres winter cauliflowers, 30 acres Spring Barley, we changed to the business described above.
- Board member Clynderwyn and Cardigan Farmers (CCF) farmer supply co-operative, £60m+ turnover 2018 – present.
- Chairman of the Board CCF 2020-2022
- Nuffield Farming Scholarship Mentor 2015 - 2023
- Member of NFU Cymru Water Quality Task and Finish Group 2018 - 2020
- Member National Farmers Union (NFU) Board for Horticulture and Potatoes, representing Wales 2006 – 2014
- Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies 2015
- Nuffield Farming Scholar 2002
- Member British Potato Council 1997 – 2003
- Worshipful Company of Farmers Advanced Farm Business Management Course1990
Top tips for business success
“There are many great opportunities in farming but you have to make sure that you get the right ones for you and your farm. Knowing your skills and enthusiasms are key.”
Have a plan, work hard and be prepared to modify your plans with experience. Look around, ask around and learn from the mistakes of others because you can’t afford to make them as well.”