FUW members Rhodri and Gaynor Davies welcomed Assembly Member and First Minister Carwyn Jones and prospective Labour parliamentary candidate for the Vale of Glamorgan constituency, Belinda Loveluck‐Edwards, to their farm near Llantwit Major recently.
During the visit, which was also attended by members of the FUW Glamorgan county executive committee, Rhodri, Gaynor and their son Dafi explained how a move from the Lampeter area to Rosedew Farm, a 350 acre arable farm on the South Wales coast, in the early 1990s has led to a host of diversification activities with major benefits for the local and wider economy.
“Both Gaynor and I were from a dairy background but could not see a future in that industry at the time,” said Mr Davies.
“The value of milk quota was high, and we looked around for another farm we could buy with that value and we found Rosedew Farm, just outside Llantwit Major.”
By the year 2000, the family had built a farmhouse, were renting more farms and had invested in machinery to increase their arable crops.
They had also added sheep, store cattle, sucklers and contracting to the business.
“We then converted redundant outbuildings into five holiday cottages, sleeping up to 20 between them, and just as the cottages were being finished we got a booking for all five from a couple who wanted to hold their wedding at the farm,” explained Mrs Davies.
“This prompted us to convert an unused barn into a wedding venue and build six log cabins where derelict farm buildings had stood.”
The family have since taken on a nearby camping site with glamping tents, statics and pitches for tourers and last year opened a small café on the site.
In 2012, the imminent retirement of a local butcher led to the family grasping another opportunity.
“There was a little butchers shop in a less than ideal part of Llantwit Major, and no‐one wanted to take it on,” said Mr Davies.
“The retiring butcher was happy to sell me the lease to ensure that the business would continue. We moved the shop to a better location and re‐branded the business as
Farmers Pantry before opening a second shop in Whitchurch, Cardiff. We have just opened our third retail outlet in Pughs Garden Centre, Radyr.”
The butchery now has a flourishing wholesale department, supplying local pubs and restaurants throughout South Wales.
“The success of all our businesses is down to having good, loyal and motivated staff,” said Mr Davies.
The current dry weather crisis on farming was discussed and Mr Davies said: “There will be significant long term impacts on farming due to the wet Autumn in 2017 followed by an unusually cold spring and then the heatwave.
“Livestock are already being fed food normally saved for winter and it is an anxious time trying to work out how to obtain more food for the winter with our yields being so low.”
Speaking after the event, Ms Loveluck‐Edwards said: “It was fantastic to visit Rosedew with the First Minister and see how farmers like Gaynor and Rhodri are diversifying to sustain their businesses for generations to come.”