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Pembrokeshire businesses highlight why farming matters to rural economy

Pembrokeshire businesses have put the spotlight on the rural economy, highlighting how valuable the farming industry is to the local community, at a recent farm open day arranged by the Pembrokeshire branch of the Farmers’ Union of Wales.

dairy-cows

Dairy Cattle at Eithinman farm, Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire businesses have put the spotlight on the rural economy, highlighting how valuable the farming industry is to the local community, at a recent farm open day arranged by the Pembrokeshire branch of the Farmers’ Union of Wales.

The event was hosted by dairy farmer Meurig Harries and his family at Eithinman farm, Wolfscastle, Haverfordwest. Mr Harries who has been dairy farming for over 30 years, says that he spends on average 75% of the farm’s income in the local economy.

The 200 acre dairy farm, of which 30 acres are woodland and 90 acres are rented, has been in the family for over 52 years and is now home to 100 dairy cows, which produce on average 1 million litres of milk a year.

Mr Harries said: “I would like to thank all of the businesses here for throwing their support behind this important campaign. Agriculture is facing a tough future and most certainly a changing future in light of our exit from European Union and we must get government and the general public to understand that if agriculture is supported it benefits a whole host of other industries as well.”

pembrokeshire-businesses

FUW and Pembrokeshire businesses highlight why #FarmingMatters

Joining the Harries family on the day were over 20 rural businesses that provide services to the farm enterprise, including Bibby’s Feed Merchants; PRAg who provide seed, fertiliser and agronomy advice; Peter Reynish, a big bale contractor; Haven Fuels; Carwyn Morris Plumbing and Heating; James Engineering, mobile agricultural engineers; Roberts Construction; Ernest Harries a lime & fibrophos contractor; Richard Nicholas ATV’s; CCF; Tallis Amos Group who are part of the John Deere dealership; Mason Bros Quarry Products and the Oak Veterinary Group.

Phil Rees of PRAg Ltd, an agronomy supply company employing 7 people full time and 2 part time during the summer, said: “I cannot stress enough the importance of a thriving agricultural economy to businesses like mine and to all other ancillary businesses linked to agriculture in West Wales.

“Small agricultural supply businesses are struggling to maintain sales and whilst strangling in bureaucratic red tape and regulations they are being mopped up by the big boys of this world. This ultimately cannot be good for the small/ medium size farmer, which is why it is imperative that the value of their end product increases.”

It’s a family affair - (l-r) Meurig, Bryn, Elfeira and Alison Harries

It’s a family affair – (l-r) Meurig, Bryn, Elfeira and Alison Harries

Carwyn Morris of Plymwaith a Gwres Carwyn Morris Plumbing and Heating, told us why farming matters to his business, stressing that the survival of agriculture is particularly important for the future of our young people, he said: “I am a sole worker but sometimes other trades are involved in some aspects of my work e.g. electricians, carpenters, builders.

“For myself and the local community living in a rural area, agriculture is paramount to a successful business. In my opinion a thriving and profitable agricultural economy is vital to rural areas like the one in which I live. Not only is agriculture important from a business point of view, but also for our local communities, the Welsh language and for the future of the young people of the area.”

Another local company the Harries family deal with is the Tallis Amos Group (TAG), who were formed in 2014 when two long standing John Deere dealerships joined forces.

Being a family business at heart, they employ 115 people across 5 outlets, including 20 from their outlet at Redstone Road, Narberth.

Joining the event was TAG representative Steffan Kurtz, who said: “Whilst our customer base is as diverse as the product range that we supply, a large percentage of our customers are directly involved in agriculture. For us as a company this means that a healthy agricultural sector is critical for our sustained future.

“Beyond the 20 people directly employed in the local community our customers and the money they spend with us helps to support multiple other ancillary businesses in the local area, from motor factors, to engineering workshops, tyre retailers, fuel suppliers, marketing businesses, the list goes on and on, even down to the local sandwich shop!

“Agriculture has always changed, and will continue to do so into the future, but we believe it will remain key to a successful local economy and community.”

Mason Bros Quarry Products, a family run business which has been operating for 50 years but has been quarrying locally for 26 years, employ 22 staff, half of which work directly for Mason Bros Quarry Products.

Daniel Mason of Mason Bros Quarry Products, said: “ A large proportion of our customers have direct or indirect links in the agricultural industry. It is vital that agriculture remains a strong force within the economy as within our area of operation it supplies a great deal of financial buoyancy for local businesses and feeds people’s confidence in trading and expenditure. The ripple effect of the agricultural sector being placed under strain can easily be underestimated, especially within such a rural community.”

Meurig-Harries

FUW Pembrokeshire dairy farmer Meurig Harries

Closing the farm open day was FUW Vice President Brian Walters, who said: “I hope that these messages resonate with those who have the power to ensure that agriculture faces a bright and prosperous future. As an Union we are concerned about the impact a ‘hard-Brexit’ could have on agriculture and with that our rural economies.

“Our income sources will dwindle into nothing if we do not have markets established by the time we leave the EU and as some UK Ministers clearly favour a hard exit, we need to ensure that there are sound and sustainable mechanisms in place to provide a soft landing for farmers up and down the country, like Meurig Harries. The industry simply cannot afford to lose markets with no additional support.”

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