TWO young female farmers, both FUW members and alumni of the Agri Academy, Farming Connect’s flagship personal development programme, have recently been appointed as board members of Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC – Meat Promotion Wales), the Aberystwythbased body responsible for the development, promotion and marketing of Welsh red meat to a global market. Rachael Madeley Davies, from Fedw Arian Uchaf in Bala and Helen Howells from Tycam in Llanwenog, Ceredigion are both keen advocates of Farming Connect’s flagship personal development programme, and say the experience gave them valuable skills they’ll now put into practice for the benefit of red meat producers throughout Wales. Both agree that the Agri-Academy’s intensive programme of training, mentoring and networking gave them the confidence to apply for their new high profile and influential positions as Hybu
Cig Cymru board members and they are looking forward to communicating and engaging directly and effectively with red meat levy payers at this challenging but also opportunistic time for the industry, post Brexit. Rachael, a qualified barrister who works for an agricultural consultancy is also part of the team of entrepreneurial young farmers’ wives, Gwas Fferm, who launched their own agri-diary two years ago, thanks to support from Farming Connect’s Agrisgôp programme. Rachael was selected for the Agri Academy’s Rural Leadership programme in 2014. “I feel it’s really important that the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths AM has appointed a board with a depth of experience from different sectors. This reflects the diverse talent within agriculture and the broader food industry in Wales. “The Agri Academy Rural Leadership programme has equipped me with the necessary skills and confidence to pursue involvement in our industry at this level,” said Rachael. Chartered environmentalist and sustainable development practitioner Helen Howells, runs Hwylus Cyf, a strategic rural consultancy she set up to inspire innovation within public, private and third sector organisations in Wales. A first class honours graduate in sustainable rural development from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, where she won the Stapleton Society Award for best student, Helen says that her experience with the 2016 Agri Academy Rural Leadership programme gave her the opportunity to consider her long-term career goals which led her to set up Hwylus Cyf. “The Agri Academy encourages, mentors and nurtures people from farming backgrounds to achieve their potential as rural leaders and entrepreneurs. “I’m grateful for my Agri Academy experience, and I found taking time out to plan my career longerterm very beneficial. The added bonus of networking, both within our group and with the many people we met through the programme, was also invaluable,” said Helen.