Short films reveal harsh realities of farming in Wales

Farmers have teamed up with an independent film production company to record a series of hard-hitting short films about the realities of farming in Wales.

Gareth Wyn Jones, a hill farmer based in north Wales and a social media influencer, has teamed up with Bafta award-winning and Welsh independent production company Chwarel for the video series.

The series is being published on the YouTube channel Melyn Cymru.

See also: Video: Farmers put boot into Welsh government farm policy plans

The first video is a two-part instalment that looks at the devastating emotional and financial impact that bovine TB is having on Welsh dairy farmers.

Part one – A Tale of Two Countries – sees Mr Wyn Jones and his best friend and dairy farmer Steve Evans discuss the destructive emotional and financial impact that bovine TB is having on their farms.

Fourth-generation dairy farmer Mr Evans milks a 480-cow milking herd outside Haverfordwest on an autumn block-calving system capable of producing 8,000 litres a year.

The 13-minute film documents his struggles with bovine TB, the loss of dozens of cows to the disease over the past few years, and how he could end up losing half his herd by the summer.

Part two, which will be aired on Wednesday (20 March), will see Mr Wyn Jones visit a farm in England to speak to Derbyshire vet Sarah Tomlinson and farmers about how they have managed the fight against bovine TB and ask whether there are lessons Wales could learn from their methods.

Mr Wyn Jones said: “We just felt that the way the mainstream media has been portraying farming is unfair, so we decided to film a series of powerful mini films that will tell people about the realities of farming in Wales.

“Steve has lost 100 milking cows and has a test next month that could see him losing another three-quarters of his herd. He’s not sure what he’s going to do.

“People have got to understand what’s going on and how much pressure is on farmers.”

The launch of the new series comes at a critical time for the future of the Welsh agricultural sector.

In recent weeks, frustrated farmers have staged a number of protests against the Welsh Labour government’s farm policy plans, with a focus on bovine TB, regulation around all-Wales nitrate vulnerable zones (NVZs), and huge dissatisfaction over the proposals included in the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS).

New first minister

Vaughan Gething has been named as Mark Drakeford’s successor and will formally become the first minister on Wednesday.

Farmers and farming unions are waiting to see whether Wrexham MS Lesley Griffiths will hold on to her position as rural affairs secretary, or be replaced.

“Now we will have a new first minister in place, hopefully he can address the three main issues – TB, NVZs and SFS policy – going forward,” said Mr Wyn Jones.

“We have been going nowhere with the people who are there at the moment. We need new direction and new conversations to find new solutions.”

See more