Following his studies at Glynllifon College, Gareth Thomas (22) returned to farm at his family’s beef and sheep farm, Tregynrig Fawr in Cemaes Bay.
Acknowledging that his Agri Academy experience was ‘amazing’, an unexpected bonus was finding a new business partner! Gareth and similarly ambitious young farmer Jim Ellis from Pwllheli , who were both Business & Innovation programme candidates, have joined forces and already started researching the market and sourcing suppliers for their new start-up energy health drinks business.
“I didn’t know what to expect, but the Agri-Academy has extended my knowledge of the industry and it’s given me tremendous confidence. I’ve met so many fantastic new people who have encouraged and inspired me.
Gareth says that the combination of working within a group, where like-minded individuals respect each other’s opinions and knowledge while being mentored and encouraged to think about new or more efficient ways of working, has been life-changing.
“There were so many skills within our group, it soon became clear that we had much to learn from each other as well as through the fantastic networking and guidance which the Academy provided,” says Gareth.
Gareth says that the group’s study visit to Switzerland gave them a unique insight into how Swiss farmers operate trade agreements outside the EU.
“It is essential to explore more efficient ways of working as well as considering new trading options. I saw at first hand more cost-effective ways of doing things and I am now keen to implement at home what I’ve learned about stock rotation and lowering the cost of inputs.”
“I was very impressed with the Swiss farmers’ environmentally friendly ‘zero till’ way of working which means they grow crops to fertilise the soil rather than ploughing, which could be very relevant for many arable farmers in Wales.”