We enjoyed a fantastic few days at this year’s Royal Welsh Winter Fair, held at the showground in Llanelwedd.

There was a real community feel at this year’s Winter Fair and it was great to engage with members, stakeholders and politicians over the two days.

The Royal Welsh Winter Fair is a fine example of the unparalleled contribution that Welsh farmers make to the economic, environmental, social and cultural well-being of Wales.

It was my first Winter Fair as NFU Cymru President, and it was great to be back with no Covid-19 restrictions. I would also like to congratulate the new Royal Welsh Show Chief Executive, Aled Jones, on a great two days.

We held several meetings over the two days with politicians discussing a range of topics including the Sustainable Farming Scheme, water quality and the current challenges in the poultry sector.

Colleagues met with with Mark Spencer, Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to highlight important points which included fairness in the supply chain.

The priorities of common land rights holders in Wales were championed in a new report launched by NFU Cymru on the Monday morning. The ‘Shaping Welsh Farming’s Future: NFU Cymru’s Policy Priorities For Common Land’ document outlines the specific challenges and opportunities for Welsh farmers with common land at this time of agricultural policy reform in Wales. It brings the needs of Welsh common land rights holders to the fore. We hope the key recommendations put forward by the NFU Cymru Common Land Focus Group are taken on board by Welsh Government as its Sustainable Farming Scheme proposals are further defined.

NFU Cymru also welcomed over 120 children from year 10 at Gwernyfed High School and Builth Wells High School to the Winter Fair to learn about Welsh farming and the plethora of careers that exist within agriculture.

The day kicked off with a panel session on agricultural careers, followed by a scavenger hunt which saw the children tasked with going around the Winter Fair visiting trade stands to answer questions.

The scavenger hunt aimed to introduce the children to the work of organisations such as Hybu Cig Cymru, DPJ Foundation, higher education providers, machinery dealers and Wales YFC.

It was also a pleasure to be there to witness NFU Cymru Next Generation Group Member, Ernie Richards, a shepherd from Clyro, announced as the winner of the NFU Cymru/NFU Mutual Welsh Livestock Champion of the Year Award 2022.

The competition recognises the key role a good livestock manager can make to a livestock farm and to the wider Welsh livestock industry. Ernie was presented with the prize of £500, sponsored by NFU Mutual, and a Royal Welsh engraved crystal trophy.