Farmer Focus: Remembering a friend at this time of year

Helo a Chroeso – welcome to my very first article, written from our upland farm in Mid Wales.

As I’m writing this, we are marking the one-year anniversary of when the first Covid-19 lockdown was introduced.

As for many young families, the school both our daughters were attending suddenly had to close.

Being home on the farm has certainly been a time of personal development for many farm children, where they have gained new experiences, skills and responsibilities. For us, their contribution in the lambing shed during the past few weeks has been incredible.

See also: 10 tips to improve physical resilience at lambing and calving

It reminds me of a conversation I had with one of the ladies cleaning our hostels during my college days: she observed that when students went off on their farm work placements, they “went out as children and returned as adults”.

I’m sure that this is true for many farming children over the past year. They have had the opportunity to gain and develop so many life skills in their young lives. 

During the past week, we have seen the nation come together to remember the individuals who lost their lives to the pandemic.

We, as a community in Montgomeryshire, will also be remembering a farmer who lost his life in a tragic tractor accident nearly 12 months ago.

Richard Tudor was not only a friend, he was also an inspiration to all who knew him.

He was the 2016 Farmers Weekly Beef Farmer of the Year and then became a first-generation dairy farmer. He was so cruelly taken away from his family, less than a month after setting their new rotary parlour into motion.

Please join us on Saturday evening, 3 April, in raising a glass of milk in memory not only of Richard, but also each and every inspirational individual who has tragically lost their life in their effort to feed the nation.

At the beginning of another busy summer season, let us make a promise, to ourselves and our loved ones, to keep safe, so that we will not be a part of this awful statistic that is associated with our industry.

Lechyd da i chi gyd. Good health to you all, and keep safe.

Dafydd Parry Jones and his wife, Glenys, run a closed flock of 750 Texel and Aberfield-cross ewes and 70 Hereford-cross suckler cows on 180ha in Machynlleth, Powys. Their upland organic system uses Hereford bulls, Charollais terminal sires and red clover silage, multispecies leys and rotational grazing.