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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 forums held in Portmeirion and in Cardigan Castle.

Chaired by tv presenter and farmer’s wife Mari Lovgreen, a familiar face on S4C, 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’ led by speakers from North Wales Police event.

One of the other workshops was with Holly Beckett, who is a fourth generation farmer. She’s been concentrating on diversifying their farm business by opening a farm siop, restaurant and a cookery school, as well as renting out conference facilities for the public.

Holly Beckett is one of the founders of the FocussedFarmers.com website. The website includes numerous videos which focuses on self-awareness, self-control, social awareness and social management. The group had a chance to learn more about focussedfarmers and how they can make us of the website on a daily basis:
“I have truly enjoyed the Women in Agriculture event, it’s give me the opportunity to discuss focussedfarmers.com and explain how important mindfulness really is”.

 

From left: Fflur Sheppard, Nicholas Hawe, Mari Lovgreen, Holly Beckett & Corinna Lloyd-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.”

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 www.wales.gov/farmingconnect or contact your local development officer, whose contacts are shown on the Farming Connect website.

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.