What a week we’ve had!
Despite temperatures that soared up to 35 degrees on Monday, people from all over the country and beyond descended on the Royal Welsh showground in their thousands - 40,000, to be precise.
They were treated to the spectacle of showjumping, quad bikes, majestic carriages and the show favourite, Meirion Owen and his Quack Pack, amongst a full timetable of showing and competing all surrounded by exhibitors, food stalls and trade stands.
Here at the FUW pavilion we hosted a well-attended seminar on carbon offsetting and tree planting and hope to continue the conversation that our members so want us to have about carbon calculators, woodland on farms, growing more foo and ensuring future policies get the balance right.
Tuesday we experienced yet another day of intense heat but show-goers weren’t deterred by the scorching sun as they flocked through the gates for day two of more competing, forestry events, horticultural exhibits, crafts and countryside sports.
The FUW hosted the annual OFCOM lunch as well as the launch of the GWCT Wales Working Conservationists Farming Community in the afternoon which was hotly-debated in every sense of the word!
This was closely followed by FUWIS’s seminar on Farm theft, discussing how to manage risk and keep insurance premiums low by working with security and technology companies to minimise risk of theft.
In the evening we welcomed Bryn Fôn a’r Band to the pavilion where he thrilled and delighted a great crowd of enthusiastic fans old and new, young and old and treated us to a fantastic night of entertainment which brought the house down whilst raising a whopping £1,500 for our charity the DPJ Foundation as well as the people of Ukraine, through DEC Cymru.An extremely full day of events at the pavilion on Wednesday started with the jointly-held Landscape Management for Wildfire Prevention event highlighting the use of agricultural techniques in Wildfire prevention.
The next seminar held at the FUW pavilion aimed to discuss and review current and emerging bovine TB technologies in view of their relevance for disease control and eradication and was very well-received by those who attended.
Chwarae Teg then hosted a joint panel to discuss women’s role in agriculture and the wider rural economy whilst celebrating and highlighting the contribution women make.
Our final seminar of the day saw the recent Sustainable Farming Scheme discussed by James Owen Deputy Director of the Welsh Government’s land Management Reform Division. In the evening we enjoyed my last President’s Reception where I was extremely proud to give out several prestigious industry awards.
The FUW Internal award for services to agriculture went to Iwan Jones, Denbighshire who was honoured for his dedication to the FUW over the years.
Our FUW external award went to the amazing team at Tir Dewi and was accepted by the \Venerable Eileen Davies on their behalf for the exceptional work they do for farmers who find themselves in need of mental health support due to the pressures of the industry.
Winner of the Bob Davies memorial shepherd’s crook was Hannah Thomas ITV whose neverending work and enthusiasm for all things agriculture and rural made her an easy choice for this honour.
Cheques were presented to the DPJ Foundation and the people of Ukraine via DEC Cymru of the funds raised at the Bryn Fôn gig on the previous evening.
We were very pleased to welcome back the singing trio Sorela who entertained us throughout with their dulcet tones.
The final day of the show dawned with a welcome drop in temperatures and a bit of a breeze but the showground continued to entertain and enthral with more competitions, displays and exhibitions whilst in the FUW pavilion an interesting and much-needed discussion was being held on how the menopause affects women in agriculture, what needs to be done and the next steps.
In a fitting finale to what has been a truly memorable show-as well as my last show as President of the FUW-we saw the incredible spectacle of the prize-winning stock being paraded around the main ring.
I think what I will take away from the 2022 Royal Welsh Show is what can be achieved by working together and how much interest people outside of the industry have in agriculture and rural life. Although there are huge challenges ahead, there is also hope and whilst we have that, we have an industry which will continue to feed and serve the people of our country and beyond.