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9th generation farming family highlights why farming matters

A 9th generation farming family from Glamorgan have highlighted why farming matters when they welcomed Ogmore MP Chris Elmore to their farm.

Gill and Charles Morgan and their son Richard run Gellifeddgaer farm, just outside of Blackmill, Bridgend, which comprises approximately 330 acres with a further 50 acres rented.

The farm is adjacent to Mynydd-y-Gaer Common (approx. 1,000 acres) and they have common rights on the upper and lower section of Coity Wallia Common which extends to approximately 2,000 acres.

At present the family run 900 ewes, which have now lambed, together with 40 calves which were purchased with the purpose of rearing until 16-18 months.

The farm has been in the family since the early 1700’s, firstly as a tenanted farm, but then in the mid- 1960’s  it was purchased from the Winfield Estate and has been in family ownership ever since.

Gellifeddgaer has been enrolled in environmental schemes for almost 30 years, commencing with Habitat then Tir Gofal and presently Glastir Advanced.

Speaking about the role farming families play in maintaining the countryside, Gill said: “Agriculture is often singled out for criticism in terms of environmental impacts. The reality is that all industries have some form of adverse effects, and agriculture is one of the few which also has huge positive effects – for example in terms of carbon storage, preserving biodiversity and water management.

“We try to do our bit by participating in these environment schemes. As with all other industries, we have a duty to improve our performance in order to preserve the planet for future generations, and doing so is a challenge the industry can rise to, provided governments and others properly understand the need for proportionate approaches which avoid food production being shifted to other countries with far lower environmental standards.”

The family diversified in 1999 into selling their meat direct to the consumer and for 14 years were involved in supporting Farmers’ Markets, during which time they sold lamb, beef and pork, all of which were produced on the farm.   

Over the years the family have also been successful in gaining a number of True Taste and Great Taste Awards for their lamb, beef and pork.

Showcasing why farming matters and how farmers actively contribute to looking after the environment, Gill and Charles Morgan also highlighted that the continuing uncertainty about future trade deals was a real problem for farming families across Wales.

Charles said:

“There is still no clarity on whether we will have a trade deal/transition deal with EU. So the lambs that were born this year will be sold out of the European Union. Brexit brings uncertainty at a level not seen for generations and as around 30% of UK and Welsh sheep meat is exported to the EU that causes real concern for us.

“UK lamb production is seasonal and the UK relies on the ability to export cuts of meat not popular in the UK in order to balance carcass sales. We therefore need to see the issue addressed urgently and we made that very clear when we spoke to Chris Elmore here on farm.”

Rachel Saunders, the FUW’s Glamorgan CEO, raised the issue of funding with the Ogmore MP and said:

“Michael Gove has acknowledged that post 2022 rural funding needs to be dealt with outside the Barnett Formula to avoid a drop of around 40% in Wales’ share of a budget, which is good news for farming families like Gill and Charles Morgan. However, there is still no certainty about an actual budget for Wales.

“With a third of Wales’ population living in rural areas, the essential role farming and those businesses which rely on agriculture play in our local economies has to be recognised. We therefore need to ensure that rural Wales is no worse off financially whatever change may happen and we need clarity on what budget will be available.

“Each pound received by Welsh farms generates many more pounds for other businesses – mechanics, hauliers, contractors and so on – meaning the economic benefits of the CAP stretch far beyond the farmyard and are annually worth billions to Wales’ economy.

“Yes, our Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths confirmed that the Basic Payment Scheme will continue as planned for the 2018 and 2019 scheme years, however attempting to phase in a new system from 2020 could be damaging for businesses if it is overly ambitious and poorly investigated.”