An Usk farmer is one of five YFC Wales members who have gained valuable knowledge on pig production and management thanks to an intensive training programme provided by Farming Connect. 

Sophie Bennett joined four others at Cefn Coch Farm near Raglan to learn about pig production methods following the Wales YFC Prime Pork initiative that aims to encourage more members into the pig industry, both as new breeders and commercially. 

In 2023 it saw five members rearing weaners before presenting them for competition at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair. 

Farming Connect played an important role in the process by delivering bespoke ‘masterclass’ training sessions for the group.

They learned about pig husbandry with practical advice given on handling, weighing and administering vaccines. 

Vet Lucy Chubb, of Farm First Vets, led this session and followed it with another on disease prevention and securing good pig health and welfare. 

There were virtual sessions too, one on marketing with Nicola Merriman of Landsker Business Solutions providing tips on how to build a brand. 

In another, Cate Barrow, of ADAS, gave guidance on business planning, including how preparing a business plan can help with applications for grants and loans, as well as the different opportunities for getting into pig farming, from the bed-and-breakfast model to farrow-to-finishing, as well as other reasons for having pigs on the farm, such as for regenerative purposes. 

Lee Pritchard, Rural Affairs Officer at Wales YFC, described the support given by Farming Connect as “extremely valuable’’. 

“As a movement we are extremely lucky to have the support of Farming Connect to enable our members to enter and thrive within the pig sector,’’ he said.