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    Welsh students thankful for HCC conference experience

    Posted 16 November 2015

    It was unanimously agreed between us from Harper Cymry that the day was worthwhile and it had opened our eyes to different aspects of farming, marketing and selling Welsh lamb and beef. "

    Cari Thomas reports from the HCC Conference

    A group of students from the Harper Cymru society were lucky enough to visit the annual HCC Conference at Llandrindod Wells last week. 

    Cari Thomas, 21, from Llanybydder, Dyfed, a final-year Rural Enterprise and Land Management student, reports. 

    “Hybu Cig Cymru is the body responsible for the promotion of Welsh lamb and beef. In a year of price volatility and low prices it was set to be a day of interesting discussion.

    “Dai Davies, the chairman, opened the conference. He discussed the theme of the conference which was ‘gaining ground together’, summarising the last year of trading and voicing HCC’s aim to unite the supply chain before welcoming Rebecca Evans, Welsh Deputy Minister for Farming and Food.

    “Her talk looked at how the Welsh Government aims to drive the industry forward and discussed the future from a European Union perspective. It was heart-warming as a Harper Adams student to hear how impressed she was by the technologies and facilities shown to her during her recent visit to the campus. 

    “Prys Morgan, Head of Operations at HCC, was the next to speak, giving an informative and interesting talk about the work of HCC and the reasons behind the disappointing prices of the last year. Followed by a presentation by Richard Brown, the director of GIRA who discussed the global sheepmeat markets and the implications for Welsh Lamb, it was definitely interesting to consider the industry within a Global marketplace. 

    “The penultimate speaker before lunch was Patricia Czerniak, the HCC agent in Germany who spoke about the appeal of the traditional, sustainable rearing of Welsh lamb to German consumers. The final speaker to close the first half of the day was the charismatic Ed Garner of Kantar, World Panel, who presented an overview of the grocery environment in the United Kingdom – I’m sure that all present would agree that his combination of humour and information led to a very memorable presentation.

    “After a lovely spread of food – which of course included Welsh Beef and Lamb, it was the turn of the HCC Scholars to give their presentations. HCC offers this annual scholarship to applicants who are employed on a full-time basis within the Welsh red meat industry. 

    “First up was Doctor Eleri Price, who discussed the genetic selection of lamb, meat, yield and quality at Australia and New Zealand. She was followed by James Powell, whose research was based on land improvement and utilisation of marginal land in Ireland and New Zealand. The final HCC scholar to speak was Carwyn James, who spoke about the concept of collaboration farming following his research in New Zealand and Australia. All three scholars were highly enthusiastic about their subject, and all three presentations were highly informative.

    “The final presentation of the day was a butchery demonstration by Robert Rattery, a butcher from Aberystwyth. Being not only a butcher but also a keeper of a pedigree herd of Beltex sheep, he was highly informative about every aspect of the production chain. The floor was open to questions and Robert along with two HCC representatives answered various questions covering topics such as the classification system and the saleability of lamb. 

    “The day drew to a close with a question and answer session which led to some interesting debates. It was unanimously agreed between us from Harper Cymru that the day was worthwhile and it had opened our eyes to different aspects of farming, marketing and selling Welsh lamb and beef. 

    “May I take this opportunity to thank Hybu Cig Cymru on behalf of the Harper Cymru Society for their hospitality – it was highly beneficial for our studies and we are all highly grateful for the opportunity of listening to such a high calibre of speakers from within the industry. Thanks must also go to Sian Downes, this year’s Harper Cymry chairwoman, for arranging this on our behalf.”


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