The Agricultural Industry Network is a driven group of eligible farmers and agricultural based industries that actively engages in, and provides an advisory role to, rural Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent’s agricultural industry including developing the industry in both Counties and enhancing it’s economic benefits.
The network was established in direct response from farmers after developing a strong relationship with many of them at the local agricultural shows and in the RDP’s support of agricultural activities such as the annual sheep shearing competition that is organised by Gelligaer Young Farmers Club, the annual sheep dog trails and the Nelson Type Ram and Sheep Sales that are held each September in Nelson.
The network was created and very soon it became a place for farmers to join together and discuss issues that both affect the industry nationally and also on a much more local level. The atmosphere created for these meeting is relaxed and informal with the emphasis on mutual help and advice.
The Agricultural Network recognises the issues that face the sector. The key objectives of the Agricultural Industry Network are to encourage a cohesive local agricultural industry network that will deliver the following objectives:
Any Agricultural Industry business that operates within the rural wards of Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent would be eligible to be involved in the network through meeting participation and project work.
Meetings are held at the Penallta Rugby Club. The meetings follow the agricultural calendar avoiding dates where a high level of activity would preclude members form attending such as lambing, shearing, sales and hay harvest. The rugby club was the preferred venue as it sits roughly central for the members.
The meetings follow an agenda with contributions from members, Farming Connect, Glyn Davies – Farmers Union of Wales, Gwent Police Owl/Farm Watch and Planed Commons Officer– Glastir project.
Members requested a programme of training workshops to be delivered on rural skills including sheep shearing, dry stone walling, hedge laying and food hygiene for farm gate sales.
These workshops were delivered with no charge to the members with the exception of the shearing which was a course delivered by the Wool Marketing Board and for which we signposted the attendees to a training grant scheme that was delivered by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust on behalf of the Cwm a Mynydd RDP. These participants were successful in receiving 80% of the course fees paid by the grant scheme.
An agricultural directory was created for the members of the network. It consists of businesses that are particular to this industry and focuses on local businesses. If there is no local business for a particular service/product within county boundaries, then businesses that are as local as possible were sought for this directory.