Synchronised support has been the key to success for new Welsh pork producer Mochyn Mawr.
When Swansea Valley pig farmer Ann Lewis contacted Menter Moch Cymru – a Menter a Busnes project to support and develop the pig industry in Wales – she tapped into a wealth of practical and business advice.
Through Menter Moch Cymru (MMC), Ann connected with Cywain, a sister Menter a Busnes project that supports the development of growth-orientated businesses in the food and drink sector in Wales.
Using the expertise offered by both projects, Ann has been able to take Mochyn Mawr forward with ease and speed in a coordinated approach.
On retiring from her IT job earlier this year, Ann – who inherited the 50-acre Cathelyd Isaf Farm in Craig Cefn Parc from her parents – began farming full-time to sell free-range pork from a shop on the farm. She established a pig unit and followed in her mother’s footsteps by choosing to rear native breeds.
Ann said, “While I’ve got good pasture here for cattle, there are also woodland and scrub fields which are ideal for pigs. My herd is made up of Saddlebacks, Large Blacks, and Welsh sows with some crosses, which my butcher processes. I sell the meat from the farm shop, or people can order online and collect.”
Mochyn Mawr’s relationship with the two Menter a Busnes projects began through the farm’s vet, who suggested undertaking MMC’s Herd Health Plan.
The 100% funded Herd Health Plan fosters a close working relationship between farmers and veterinary surgeons, creating a strategy tailored to the individual farm and herd’s needs. Ann has also attended several MMC training webinars.
Ann also took up MMC’s offer of marketing support, which provides up to £750 for businesses selling pork from Wales to produce personalised marketing/promotional materials, photography and printing.
To create a logo for Mochyn Mawr, Ann was put in touch with Cywain, whose support remit includes logo development and additional business advice. Also, through Cywain, Ann created a website and a business plan.
By working together, MMC and Cywain provided Mochyn Mawr with ‘seamless’ support, meaning Ann could take full advantage of the assistance in a very time-efficient way that utilised the funding available from both projects to its maximum.
Ann said, “Working with MMC and Cywain has been a really good experience. They have been great, and they have enabled me to take my business forward really quickly. They have put me in touch with business consultants and the right places that have enabled me to access start-up grants to buy equipment for the farm shop. I can’t fault the advice I’ve been given.”
Ffion Jones, Cywain Development Manager, said, “I’m really pleased with how Mochyn Mawr’s new brand and website look. Working with Ann and Menter Moch Cymru was a great experience and a chance to cooperate with other support organisations available to Welsh business owners.
“Ann knew what she wanted to achieve with her new business – and by when – working brilliantly as a team with Menter Moch Cymru, Cywain, the business consultants and the photographer that helped with her business development.”
Melanie Cargill, Menter Moch Cymru Project Manager, said, “It’s brilliant to see how Ann’s business has been able to develop with the support from both Menter a Busnes projects. I think it’s really unique and a huge benefit for businesses when support programmes like Menter Moch Cymru and Cywain can come together and work seamlessly for the benefit of their client. It’s a win-win.
“Ann utilised the Menter Moch Cymru Marketing Grant to produce beautifully designed branded materials and a session with a professional photographer. Her product images look fantastic and are already up on her new website to help promote and sell her pork. We hope this inspires other businesses that sell pork from Wales to utilise the funding that’s on offer, so like Ann, they can take their business to the next level.”