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Women in agriculture learn that looking after yourself and your workers could be key to influencing change within Welsh farm businesses

There were great gales of laughter and shudders of horror in equal measures from the women from across Wales who attended Farming Connect’s recent Women in Agriculture forum held in Portmeirion and in Cardigan Castle.

Chaired by tv presenter and farmer’s daughter Dot Davies, a familiar face on S4C and BBC Wales, the event clearly hit its target of inspiring, motivating and empowering all those who attended, with a packed programme of presentations, workshops and interactive sessions on topical issues which affect women working in the industry today. 

They considered topics ranging from Brexit and its likely opportunities and challenges for Welsh farm businesses to recognising that staff are always a business’s most important asset. They heard about the value of taking time out to consider their own well-being and participated in a session on mindfulness, which has long been recognised as helping reduce stress in the business sector. Then they all took part in a laughter therapy exercise described as ‘internal jogging’ and which should apparently be part of everybody’s daily routine if they want to live life to the full!  

The shudders of horror were reserved for the workshops on digital security or ‘cybercrime’ from two expert speakers on the subject from Dyfed Powys Police. 

“Almost every lady present realised we are all running huge risks of our businesses being ‘hacked’ or worse, through not taking sufficient measures to protect our online identities,” said  Eleri Jones, whose family run a 350 acre dairy and sheep holding,  Penlanymor in Llanarth.  

“The whole day was inspirational with an excellent variety of topics that sent us all home with so much to think about and I will personally put into practice a lot of what I learned today,” added Mrs. Jones.

Menter a Busnes’ HR Director, Corinna Lloyd-Jones, also talked about the importance of valuing people, who she explained are the most important assets for all businesses. Corinna offered guidance on implementing and evaluating performance management systems which are essential for every business.

Keynote speaker Fflur Sheppard, who was brought up on her parents’ farm on the Dolaucothi National Trust estate in Carmarthenshire, and who is an associate director at PR agency Beattie Communications said,

“I enjoyed talking to such a forward-thinking audience about the principles of winning support and influencing opinion – skills that will be so important as we head towards Brexit.

“While everyone attending had two clear things in common – they were women in agriculture – what really struck me was the diversity of their perspectives and strengths, and how they were united in their determination to take positive steps forward for themselves, their families and businesses, and the wider industry.”

From left: Buddug Lewis, Ceredigion, Flur Sheppard, Mair Jones, Ceredigion, Eleri Jones Ceredigion, Holly Beckett 

Farming Connect provides a range of services and events which support women working in agriculture in Wales. If you’re interested in joining one of our Women in Agriculture groups or for more information on any of our services, visit our main web page or contact your local development officer. 

Farming Connect is funded through the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.