The Royal Welsh Winter Fair recently hosted the final of yet another successful partnership between Menter Moch Cymru and Wales YFC introducing young people into the Welsh pig industry.

This year six YFC members were fortunate to be selected from a large pool of applications, with the winners receiving five weaners of their chosen breed to rear, supported by expert training and mentoring by Menter Moch Cymru.

The Menter Moch Cymru is funded by the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

Training for each of the young farmers included two on-farm training days, a marketing workshop, a food technician session which covered legislation and requirements of selling meat, how to prepare pigs for showing, pig nutrition and the Welfare of Animals During Transport Certificate.  Each young person was also provided with on-going mentor support through the Menter Moch Cymru programme.

The six finalist this year were Rhiannon Davies, Ceredigion; Betsan Williams, Pembrokeshire; Elin Williams, Montgomery; Chris Ludgate and Elin Childs, Carmarthenshire and Guto Huws, Meirionnydd.  The competitor’s final challenge of this year’s project was a live showing class at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair held recently in Llanelwedd. 

Elin Williams, of Montgomery, the 2019 overall winner commented “The Menter Moch Cymru competition has been such a valuable experience for me.  It’s certain to say if it wasn’t for the opportunity I would not have started keeping pigs.  The opportunity offered relevant training in terms of rearing the weaners along with preparing the animals for showing.  The mentors gave specialist advice in terms of feeding, health and welfare, processing and marketing of the finished product.  I’m excited about the future and will look at developing an end product and branding.  The programme has given me confidence to keep pigs in the future and has provided me with a keen interest in the development of the pork industry in Wales.”

Katie Davies, Wales YFC chairman summarised the project by noting, “Wales YFC is extremely grateful to Menter Moch Cymru for providing members once again with such a fantastic opportunity to learn valuable skills.  Skills that will not only help the young people develop their own enterprises but also support the development of the pig industry here in Wales.

Melanie Cargill, Menter Moch Cymru Manager, said; “The class at the RWAS Winter Fair was a great showcase of the hard work of all six YFC members. We’re delighted to have joined forces with Wales YFC and the RWAS to bring this exclusive pig class to the event.”

“The Menter Moch Cymru & Wales YFC Pig Finishing Initiative has been a great success, providing a unique introduction to the sector for the young farmers and raising the profile of pig keeping in Wales.”