Carwyn wins business challenge award

PEMBROKESHIRE beef and sheep farmer Carwyn James was announced this year’s winner of the Farming Connect Agri-Academy Business e Innovation challenge at a special ceremony during the Winter Fair. Carwyn (22), from Crymych, was presented with an engraved crystal rose bowl as well as an “end of year” certificate from Welsh Government agriculture, food and marine director Andrew Slade. The event signalled the end of the academic year for the “Class of 2014” comprising 12 Business e Innovation Programme candidates, 12 Rural Leadership Programme candidates and 14 Junior Programme candidates. “The Agri- Academy, which was developed and launched by Menter a Busnes on behalf of Farming Connect in 2012, is an excellent example of the Welsh Government’s commitment to supporting the agriculture industry, especially those individuals who, with the right support, guidance and opportunities, have the potential to become the rural leaders and entrepreneurs of the future,” said Mr Slade. “I understand that a number of the candidates have already demonstrated positive acts of leadership and a willingness to work alongside Welsh Government by joining some of our working groups where they’ll be putting some of their learning into practice.” This year’s Business e Innovation Programme challenge was to draw up a five-year action plan for Roger and Jane Hughes who farm a mixed 3v0-acre holding at Trefeglwys, near Caersws. Carwyn’s proposal included incorporating an anaerobic digester that could be fed a mixture of chicken manure from the Hughesf poultry unit and arable crops utilising the digestate, heat and carbon dioxide generated to support an all year round glasshouse enterprise. It was an idea that appealed to the Hughes family, who say they are likely to incorporate suggestions from a number of the action plans they received. Carwyn anticipates a busy time ahead. “The Agri-Academy gave me a fantastic platform to learn more about the industry within Wales and an opportunity to make comparisons with farm businesses we visited during a study tour to Italy. “The Italians demonstrated that all it takes to be successful is an innovative idea coupled with a burning passion for what you do, putting the wants and needs of customers at the heart of their business. “The Academy raised my expectations of what I can achieve as a farmer and will inevitably have a positive impact on the family farm and my working life going forward. It has given me a better understanding of the global challenges facing the food and farming industry and I know I will be making better informed, more confident decisions for our family business longer term.”

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