Wales’ next generation of pig producers has been revealed at the Royal Welsh Show as part of the Menter Moch Cymru & Wales YFC Pig Finishing Competition.
Open to YFC members across Wales; the initiative aims to introduce young people to the Welsh pig industry. The annual competition results from a partnership between Menter Moch Cymru and Wales YFC.
The six winners are Rebecca John from Pembrokeshire (Fishguard YFC), Carys Jones from Carmarthenshire (Llangadog YFC), Rhys Morgan from Swansea (Gower YFC), and Frances Thomas from Brecon (Sennybridge YFC), and Leah & Alis Davies from Denbighshire (Nantglyn YFC).
The winners will each receive five weaners to rear - with the overall competition champion announced at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair in November.
They will all also receive bespoke training programmes devised by Menter Moch Cymru to develop the skills required to establish, manage and develop this new venture. The training will cover all aspects of pig rearing, from husbandry, legislation, and nutrition, to help with marketing their pork. Each young person will also receive ongoing mentor support through the Menter Moch Cymru project.
Pembrokeshire young farmer Rebecca John said,
“When I heard about the Menter Moch Cymru competition, I knew I had to apply as it sounded like the ideal starting point for me to establish a new livestock enterprise on the family farm while having plenty of support and guidance.
I am thrilled to have been chosen as one of the winners of the Menter Moch competition. I feel very lucky to be given the chance to take part in this unique experience! I can’t wait for the pigs to arrive on the farm and for the training sessions to begin. I am particularly excited to compete with the pigs at the Welsh Winter Fair!”
Carys Jones from Llangadog YFC said she was very grateful to have the opportunity to take part in the competition and honoured to be among the winners. She said,
“From this, I see the opportunity to initially rearing a small number of pigs from weaners to finishing as a learning opportunity which will broaden my knowledge base before venturing into the sector on a larger scale.”
Swansea young farmer Rhys Morgan said he was interested to learn about adding value to produce and marketing it using skills he learnt studying media for A level. He said,
“I am very proud and privileged to be among this competition’s winners. Being able to represent both Glamorgan, my county and Gower, my local Young Farmers Club, is a great honour.”
Frances Thomas from Brecon, said,
“I am most looking forward to developing a market for my pork products and drawing on knowledge gained from the marketing workshops on the Menter Moch Cymru programme.”
Sisters Leah and Alis Davies from Nantglyn YFC will share the pig rearing responsibilities and are keen to learn from experts in the industry. Leah said,
“It’s an honour to be a part of the six winners this year. We have always wanted to take part in the scheme but never felt confident or experienced enough to try but as it was the last year of the competition this year it felt like the perfect year to do so.
Alis has always wanted to keep pigs but it has never become a reality. With a lot of convincing we joined forces and said that we would apply together and share the responsibility. I’m also very keen to go into the agricultural marketing industry and
gaining knowledge about the pig industry will only benefit me in my career.”
Melanie Cargill, Menter Moch Cymru Project Manager, said,
“We are delighted to be again partnering with Wales YFC to offer their members the opportunity to gain insight into a farming sector they may not have previously experienced.
“This competition is a great introduction for young farmers considering entering the pig sector. They get hands-on experience of pig rearing, while the support offered by Menter Moch Cymru will equip them with valuable transferrable skills to take their farming careers forward. Also, after two years of virtual delivery, it will be wonderful to be able to conduct on-farm training again!”
Clare James, YFC Rural Affairs Chairman said, “The Menter Moch Cymru /Wales YFC Pig Rearing competition is always a very popular and rewarding competition, and a fantastic initiative for our members.
“It is an important initiative as it gives those involved the opportunity to develop business and livestock management skills, and we wish this year’s winners the best of luck as they take on this new venture.”
Menter Moch Cymru is funded by 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.