Glyn Roberts became President of the Farmers’ Union of Wales in 2015. As President, he has helped to secure #FairFarmFunding for farmers in Wales; has focused on the importance of agriculture in rural communities and on the Welsh language; and has promoted why #FarmingMatters on a national scale.
Dylasau Uchaf, a National Trust tenant farm, is home to the Roberts family. Glyn and his daughter Beca keep a watchful eye on the land and livestock here in the Eidda valley, hidden away between the upper Conwy and the Machno. The sheep and beef farm is about 4 miles from Betws y Coed and 3 miles from Ysbyty Ifan.
Glyn chatted to Business News Wales about the Guardians of the Welsh Land Project.
Regarding the importance of the project, Glyn said:
“It’s important that we do look after the environment. Everything has to be sustainable because agriculture has to be sustainable if it’s going to evolve. One has to realise that when you’re thinking about sustainability, what sustainability actually means!”
He compares sustainability to a ‘three-legged stool.’ He says that each of the three pillars are the economy who look after the community and the environment. Glyn says that “if we ignore one of those pillars, the stool will fall.”
The family takes their responsibility of producing food and looking after the land seriously. Working with Bangor University and Hybu Cig Cymru-Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) a carbon audit was carried out on the farm highlighting where the business is doing well and where there is room for improvement when it comes to reducing carbon emissions.
Looking at the efficiency of the livestock however is only one aspect of the work being done here to ensure the farming system keeps its carbon footprint low. Beca and Glyn consider how much fertilizer is being used and have taken a new approach to their grazing system over the last 2 years and started rotational grazing. Beca has also started monitoring how the cattle grazing on the mountain is affecting biodiversity.
The father and daughter team hasn’t stopped there and further improvements to the farming system included blocking some of the ditches on the ffridd on the mountain, restricting water run-off into the Conwy river, and addressing potential soil erosion they have put in place hard standings for the livestock feeding stations in the fields. Culverts were also created to go over ditches so that the tractor doesn’t have to drive through them and dirty the water.
In the last 25 years the family have planted 4.5 miles of hedging on the farm and this year have planted about 300 native deciduous trees in patches across the farm. Choosing where to plant them was done in cooperation with the National Trust warden to make sure they are in the right places.
Addressing potential water pollution problems on the farm 30 years ago, Glyn worked with the National Trust and Water Agency (now NRW) to put measures in place that would see the establishment of a Willow tree water filtration system.