By Farmer reporter

An award-winning Glamorgan farmer and college lecturer believes the farming industry must make a conscious effort to demonstrate to the public the world class work being done on UK farms to produce healthy, safe and sustainable food for the nation.

Katie Davies, who farms at Nant-Y-Moel Farm, in Glamorgan alongside husband Trystan, and her parents Debbie and Jonathan, also teaches agriculture at Bridgend College, covering subjects such as animal health, welfare and nutrition.

“More than ever, there seems to be huge misconceptions about farming and the environment," she says.

"As an industry, we all need to take responsibility and get our message out to our consumers.

"As an educator myself, as well as understanding the practical aspects of farming, I have a strong belief that education is the key to demonstrating the positive role of farming on the UK landscape and its impact on the environment.

“Ensuring children understand where their food comes from and how its produced is critical. Keeping this message alive is important."

Katie also believes farmers need to get to grips with modern methods of communicating

"We must embrace social media – it is a powerful tool available to us all and can reach many people," she says.

"I have an Instagram page where I try to do this by telling my farming story and I encourage more farmers to do so. It is critical that we get our message out there and share the amazing work being done on UK farms."

Nant-Y-Moel Farm is a 1500-acre hill farm and some of the highest farmed land in Glamorgan, rising to 1800ft above sea level.

“We keep traditional, native breeds such as pedigree Welsh black cattle (30 plus followers) and South Wales mountain sheep (1000), both playing an historical part in the South Wales Valleys beautiful upland landscape, heritage and culture," says Katie.

“We believe that farming and the environment are inextricably linked, the unique landscape of the South Wales Valleys being formed through thousands of years of traditional farming methods and management by farmers, including the grazing of sheep.

"The farm has a SSSI which is home to many rare species of flora and fauna and is part of the Glastir environmental scheme which helps us manage and protect the many habitats and species on the farm whilst farming in an environmentally friendly way."

The farm has recently started marketing its Welsh lamb through box schemes direct to the public as part of its aim of showing consumers its quality, taste and the sustainable manner in which it is produced.

It has recently invested in a Stabiliser bull and some cows – a composite breed well-known for its impressive feed conversation rates making them ideal to produce beef from grass more efficiently than other breeds.

Katie also acknowledges the role of science in reducing carbon output.

“We’ve been proactive about this, for example, when considering our feed supplementation, we selected a product that has scientific research showing a direct correlation between feeding the supplement block and methane output per kilo of live weight gain," she says.

"This improves utilisation of forage, improving feed efficiency, and therefore carbon output.”

Graeme Warnock, of feed products supplier Crystalyx, adds: “Nant-Y-Moel Farm has been a customer for over 15 years, and a major factor in that decision has been the research data, as well as the ability of the product to withstand the harsh climate often experienced in the region.

“Environmental responsibility is now a huge issue with consumers, so farming must accept this and show efforts to reduce our impact.”