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Thursday 2nd July 2015
A Farmer's Story
Hello there! My name is Myrddin Davies and I’m a North Wales farmer and an ambassador for the Welsh Lamb brand. I’m passionate about Welsh Lamb and more than happy to praise its high quality, excellent flavour and wonderful heritage to anyone who’ll listen.
So let me tell you a bit about myself. I’m 31, married to Elliw and really looking forward to the birth of our first child later this year. Our farm, Nant y Wrach Bach, which translates as “valley of the little witch”, lies in the parish of Pandy Tudur, south east of Conwy, North Wales.
We have 180 acres on which we keep 450 breeding sheep, up to 50 beef cattle, and 300 turkeys in the run-up to Christmas. Most of our sheep are Lleyn, a breed which originated from the Lleyn Peninsula in North West Wales. They’re a breed with strong maternal traits which we mate with pedigree Charollais, a meatier breed, to produce our prime lamb.
I’m a partner in the farm business with my parents, Gwynfor and Myra which makes me the fourth generation of my family who’ve worked this farm. That’s the kind of heritage and tradition that has helped Welsh Lamb achieve Protected Geographical Indication status from the European Union, which acknowledges these virtues.
We’re really proud of the traditional farming practices which basically haven’t changed much for centuries. Sure, we have a tractor and have adapted the farming system to the 21st century, but apart from that we’re farming and rearing our lamb much the same way our ancestors did.
It’s the way of life that appeals to me. I love the fresh air and working with the seasons. Sheep farming is about grass, pure water, and letting nature take its course – it’s about as natural as you can get. Simple ingredients that produce a fantastic, high-quality product.
It’s hard work mind and definitely not your typical 9-5 job. But I think it’s more rewarding. And there’s always the challenge of trying to improve and produce better lamb.
But we don’t just produce food; we look after the whole environment. For example, we’re part of an agri-environment scheme that encourages farmers to restore old hedges and plant new ones. It’s our job to help protect the unique environment that’s sustained our way of life for centuries. You could say that sheep farming is essential to maintaining the stunning landscapes we have in Wales.
As a Welsh Lamb Ambassador my main remit is to talk to journalists and provide an insight into how lamb is produced by showing them round the farm. I also talk to people at shows and fairs about how we produce Welsh Lamb and explain what’s so special about it.
Occasionally, I also take part in cookery demonstrations and discuss the different cuts of meat available, so my experience working in a local butcher’s shop certainly comes in very handy!