James Evans named as 2016 Llyndy scholar

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The latest Llyndy scholar was announced at the Royal Welsh Show, Monday 18 July, as 25 year old, James Evans, from Builth.

James will start his 13-month paid scholarship in September, following a one month handover with the current scholar, Owain Jones. He will then take on the management of the 614 acre upland farm, in Snowdonia for a year.

“Its important young farmers are given the space to experiment with new ideas and diversify. The scholarship is a great opportunity for a young person to get practical experience managing an upland farm.”

Arwyn Owen, Mentor

James who has experience in farming sheep and cattle in Radnorshire was looking forward to the new challenge ahead.

He said: “I can’t wait! I’ve been helping out on farms since a young age, but I’ve never had the chance to manage a farm myself before.”

The scheme now in its fourth year, was set up by one of the UK’s largest agricultural landlords and conservation charity, the National Trust, in partnership with Wales YFC, in a bid to encourage and support young people into the farming industry.

The emphasis of work at Llyndy over the past three years has focussed on laying the foundations and getting the basics right. When Caryl Hughes, the first scholar began, she had her work cut out setting the place up, repairing the boundary fence and buying in stock.

The second scholar, Tudur Parry, drew on his beef cattle background to expand the herd of Welsh Black cattle and purchase a bull, whilst also gaining valuable experience in sheep farming. Owain Jones, the third scholar, has been expanding his work to help out at Bryn y Bont, near Nantmor, to trial low impact conservation grazing for a hay meadow project.

“Its important young farmers are given the space to experiment with new ideas and diversify. The scholarship is a great opportunity for a young person to get practical experience managing an upland farm,” said mentor, Arwyn Owen.

The terrain and climate make Llyndy Isaf a challenging place to farm and since there are several Sites of Scientific Interest, there’s a strong emphasis on conservation farming with the farm taking part in the Glastir Agri-Environment Scheme.

James is interested in drawing on the experience of other National Trust projects such as Parc Farm, on the Great Orme and the shepherding project at Hafod y Llan, to see how he can strive for a good balance between production and conservation during his scholarship.

He’s also expressed an interest in building on the previous scholar’s work by trialling some of the latest schemes offered by Wales YFC at Llyndy.

Carys Vaughan, Wales YFC Rural Affairs Chairman said: “We are delighted that the appeal of farming Llyndy Isaf is spreading across Wales. James brings an interesting skills set with him and is brimming with new ideas. We look forward to seeing him develop into a highly skilled, competent farmer.”

James added: “I’m really looking forward to moving up to Snowdonia, getting stuck in and calling Llyndy Isaf home for a year.”

Owain Jones, who was on hand to present James with a locally made shepherds crook during the announcement on the Wales YFC stand, reflected on his experience to date “the time has flown by, it’s been a great learning curve for me and I’m sure James will enjoy it too”.

The Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, who congratulated James during the Royal Welsh Show, said: “One of my priorities as Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs is to develop the next generation of farmers, including those not traditionally from a farming background.

“This scholarship is an excellent opportunity for young farmers to develop their skills and broaden their experience. I would like to congratulate James and wish him the best for this challenging, yet rewarding year ahead.”

For the latest news and updates from the scholars follow @LlyndyIsaf on Twitter.