New jobs created in farming sector
Published:  09 September, 2015

Twenty new jobs have been created at three businesses in north Pembrokeshire, after a scheme to help farms diversify helped the owners find new markets.

Farming Connect’s Agrisgôp initiative played a key role in creating the new jobs, said Welsh deputy minister for food and farming Rebecca Evans, who recently visited one of the firms involved, Lloyd’s Family Farm Shop.

The new shop in Fishguard is run by livestock and poultry producers Martyn and Danielle and employs five people. The Lloyds’ main business is a sheep farm at Cilshafe, near Fishguard, and the first diversification they made was the production of free-range poultry. They also have a flock of Texel and Mule crossbreed sheep and a herd of Limousin and Hereford crossbreed cattle and were keen to add value to that enterprise through the opening of a retail outlet.

Agrisgôp is a fully funded management development programme provided by Farming Connect for those involved in farm and forestry businesses. It brings together individuals and families at a local level to discuss and develop business ideas. The Lloyd's said it gave them encouragement and confidence to act on their ideas and provided mentoring at key stages in the development and growth of the business.

The couple was mentored by Teifi and Jenny Davies, of Llwynhelig Farm, Sarnau, who have run their own farm shop for over 30 years.

“We had fantastic advice from the leader of the group, Olwen Thomas, who signposted us to our mentors and it also helped tremendously to share our ideas with other members,’’ said Martyn Lloyd.

The second business in Fishguard town centre involved in the scheme was Ray Lerwill’s Gourmet Pig delicatessen and café, which the deputy minister also visited. This business now employs eight people and has doubled in size since it first opened.

“If it hadn’t been for Agrisgôp and the network of people I met through that I might not have seen the potential for opening The Gourmet Pig,” said Lerwill.

Evans said the businesses were “excellent examples of what had been achieved, and the important role that Farming Connect has to provide the right level of support and guidance”.

The new Farming Connect programme of activities will commence in October 2015. The emphasis for those taking part will be “increasing business focused behaviour, thereby delivering greater profitability, improved competitiveness and, enhanced environmental and technical performance on farm, forestry and food businesses”, said Evans.