Geography students from Bangor University recently enjoyed a farm tour in Meirionnydd and used the opportunity to discuss #FarmingMatters with the Farmers’ Union of Wales.

Opening the gates to her farm Fferm y Llan in Llanfrothen, was FUW Meirionnydd member Olwen Ford. The farm runs from sea level to 500ft and produces lamb and beef from traditional breeds.

FUW policy officer Charlotte Priddy said: “It was really good for the students to see the different fields and learn how the land at sea level is different to that on higher ground. We discussed different policies that impact on farmers in Wales, such as the advantages and disadvantages of agri-environmental policies and the benefits and restrictions of food policy and trade, as well as food provenance, the future of food and environmental policy post-Brexit.”

Speaking after the visit Olwen Ford said: “I believe events like these are vitally important for the future of the industry. The intention of the day was to try and explore local food production, food chains and to spend time thinking about where the food we eat comes from.

“Inviting students from the university to the farm in this way is a fantastic way to raise awareness of the food production systems and to see everything that farming encompasses – it is very possible that some of these students will be the policymakers of the future!”

FUW Meirionnydd county chairman Geraint Davies, who was recently appointed as the FUW’s Younger Voice for Farming Committee chairman, spoke to the students about upland farming, and added: “The day was a complete success and I would like to thank Olwen for hosting the event. It was great to hear from so many young people who are keen to learn about the industry and we will continue our efforts to educate and work with the policymakers of the future.”

Dr Eifiona Thomas Lane, lecturer in environmental planning and geography, accompanied the students and explained: “This was an unusually fresh opportunity for our final year geography students to hear first-hand about the influence both agri-environmental and food policy on family farms, the wider rural community and the local food economy. The visit and FUW’s specialist input certainly provoked some fiery discussion later in the minibus en route back to Bangor about the suggestion that food has become a by-product of farming in Wales.

“Many of those who have taken Bangor University’s new module in geographies of food and drink innovation will become planners, teachers, food policy makers and political researchers so being in contact with real stakeholders is a massively important aspect of both their academic learning and their employability as graduates who now better understand how the countryside can work.”