An award-winning Pembrokeshire farm hosted a packed conference on sustainable farming which attracted participants from across Wales.

NFU Cymru’s Sustainable Farming Conference, titled 'Shaping Welsh Farming’s Future', took place at Trewarren Farm, St Ishmaels, by kind permission of the Llewellin family, the winners of the inaugural NFU Cymru/Wynnstay Group Plc Sustainable Agriculture Award.

It was one of a series of events NFU Cymru co-ordinated as part of the first ever Celebration of Welsh Food & Farming Week.

NFU Cymru president Aled Jones opened the conference, saying: “Fundamentally, as farmers we know that without sound management of the environment, enhancing of habitats, protection of wildlife and support for pollinators and soils, we cannot have successful businesses now or in the future.

"Our farm businesses need to be productive, profitable and progressive to be able to continue to deliver the environmental benefits we all want to see.

“As managers of 80% of the land area of Wales, we are clear there is also more to do and we are uniquely placed to deliver a full range of environmental outcomes alongside our role as food producers.

“We believe a truly sustainable vision for Welsh agriculture must move beyond seeking to balance or compromise a number of seemingly competing objectives and instead embrace equally the environmental, economic, social and cultural aspects of sustainability.

“Welsh farmers have the ambition and commitment to become globally recognised as leaders in sustainable agriculture.

Wales Farmer: Speakers at the sustainable farming conference.

"We have the drive to be world leaders in the production of climate and nature-friendly food whilst also underpinning economic, environmental, social and cultural well-being in Wales and delivering for our economy, our rural communities, the environment and society.”

The next session on agricultural policy in Wales saw James Owen, Welsh Government deputy director of land reform, provide an update on progress with the Agriculture (Wales) Bill.

Wales Farmer: NFU Cymru president Aled Jones.

NFU Cymru deputy director and head of policy, Dylan Morgan, then laid out the union’s own requirements for future policy with an outline of NFU Cymru’s policy priorities for Welsh Government’s Agriculture (Wales) Bill document.

As part of his speech Shadow Rural Affairs Minister Sam Kurtz MS, whose family farm in Pembrokeshire, told the audience that Welsh Government "must get the Agriculture (Wales) Bill right at the first opportunity".

He also praised NFU Cymru for its "willingness and proactive approach" to working with government and providing its own priorities for the bill.

The ‘Sustainable Farming in Practice’ session, saw a panel of farmers share details about their own farming systems and give their perspectives on sustainable agriculture.

Host farmer Jason Llewellin gave the audience an insight into the way his family has shaped their farming business over the years, with a focus on driving efficiency and improving soil health while maintaining and enhancing nature on and around the farm.

NFU Cymru Brecon & Radnor County Chair Sharon Hammond was next to take to the stage.

She provided a brief history of her family’s farming operations near Newbridge-on-Wye in Powys, specifically how the next generation has adapted to adversity to keep their business profitable and sustainable.

Machynlleth upland farmer Dafydd Jones informed attendees about his organic farming business, which supplies Waitrose. He stressed that while not all Welsh farms could convert to farming organically, he said that there were elements that many farmers could adopt to improve their soils and businesses.

The final speaker in the session was dairy farmer Emma Robinson. She told the audience about the Robinson family’s efforts to improve their Monmouthshire farm’s environmental credentials.

The work carried out on the farm over the years includes creating new woodlands, hedgerows and wild bird cover, improving soil indices and air quality, as well as completing a carbon audit to better understand the farm’s carbon footprint.

After lunch, those attending the conference enjoyed a short farm walk around the award-winning Trewarren Farm courtesy of a guided tour hosted by Jason, Ros and Jim Llewellin.

Speaking after the conference, NFU Cymru deputy president Abi Reader said: “The strong attendance at today’s event is a clear indication that our industry is committed to its environmental responsibilities and that our net zero 2040 ambition is a clear target for us all.

“This event was a brilliant example of farmers, government, industry stakeholders and NGOs coming together to celebrate agriculture working in harmony with nature and the environment.

"From listening to today’s speakers and audience members, it’s very clear that all parties are working towards the same goal – enhancing the environment, nurturing nature and boosting biodiversity – and that there is far more that unites us than divides us.

“Finally, I need to extend thanks on behalf of NFU Cymru to the Llewellin family, who have been brilliant hosts. I think every farmer will have left the farm feeling inspired by what they have seen at Trewarren Farm today.”

For more information about NFU Cymru’s Celebration of Welsh Food & Farming Week activities, please visit the NFU Cymru website.