HRH The Prince of Wales visits Dolgellau Auction Mart to celebrate the work of his Countryside Fund

HRH The Prince of Wales attended Dolgellau Auction Mart on Friday (5th July) to promote the work of his Countryside Fund. HRH met farmers participating in The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme, and launched the Fund’s upcoming Auction Mart research. HRH was in Wales for the week celebrating 50 years since his investiture.

The Dolgellau Programme farmers took part in the new ‘Managing your Farmed Environment’ workshop, which will help prepare them for potential changes to future agricultural policy, in particular, opportunities for developing their business through environmental land management practices. The interactive workshop introduces new concepts, encouraging cultural change in the way farmers think about their farmed environment.

HRH met the Dolgellau Programme coordinator, Wyn Owen, and the consultant who ran the workshop, Sarah Brockless, and then had a discussion and question and answer session with some of the Programme farmers.

HRH then launched the Fund’s Auction Marts Research, and met some of the team who are carrying it out: Professor Michael Winter of the University of Exeter and Christopher Dodds from the Livestock Auctioneers Association. The Fund’s three-year project is looking at how the vital social role of markets can be supported.

Professor Winter said: “I am delighted to be working with The Prince’s Countryside Fund in research to examine the future for the UK’s livestock markets.  Auction markets have long played an important role in rural areas. Not only are they places where livestock are bought and sold, but they also provide an opportunity for farmers to meet socially. But the number of livestock markets has declined and it is timely to examine their future and how they can adapt to changing times.”

HRH met staff from the mart, including Rhys Davies, Philip Evans, Haulwen Jones and Trebor Evans. HRH presented some long service certificates to other mart staff members: Richard Jones and Glyn Jarrett. Sarah Vaughan Williams was also presented with her RICS certificate.

Rhys Davies, Chief Executive of Farmers Marts said: “It has been a pleasure for Farmers Marts to have hosted HRH The Prince of Wales here at Dolgellau Market, support the activities of The Prince’s Countryside Fund and show some of the highest quality stock produced in this area.  The Welsh ewes and Welsh Black cattle at the market graze the surrounding rugged and spectacular upland areas.

“We explained that we are a co-operative society and how important it is to have a vibrant livestock sector in our rural areas.  Family farms are the mainstay of the rural economy and Welsh red meat sector. 

“We explained that sustainable livestock markets provide many associated socio-economic benefits which should be supported by policy makers to allow both the business and social elements to thrive.  Future generations need to have a clear route to market for their stock through an open and transparent bidding system - together with the meeting place provided at a Livestock Market – a family farm can at times be a lonely and difficult occupation.”

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