By Farmer reporter

Like father like son – and like mum too!

At 20 years old, young farmer Gwion Jenkins is determined to build on the longstanding tradition of developing the family farm, Rhosfach in Clynderwen. And like mum and dad, he’s tapping into the training, support and services available through Farming Connect to help.

Gwion’s parents now run a dairy herd of 150 pedigree Holstein Friesian cows – the Beca herd – at the farm his dad Iwan and mum Meinir bought in 1994 when Iwan first branched out on his own.

Starting with just 40 milking cows, Iwan was given by his farming parents at a new 86-acre holding, the Jenkins family, including Gwion and brother Guto, who works off-farm but helps out when he can, have steadily built up the herd in recent years.

They are focused on increasing efficiency and continuing to build stock numbers at Rhosfach, which today extends to more than 270 acres of owned and rented land.

Gwion returned to the farm full time after obtaining his level 3 apprenticeship in agriculture at Coleg Sir Gâr’s Gelli Aur campus. Badly affected by the restriction of animal movements in recent years, which at the time reduced the numbers of the cattle they could buy in, and so reduced the milk yield drastically, the Jenkins family now breed all their own youngstock.

These days they keep around 290 head of cows, with 150 of those producing a yield of around 7,600 litres per annum sold to Dairy Partners, Newcastle Emlyn.

Although dairying is the family’s primary source of income, Gwion has developed a keen interest in the farm’s flock of 140 Cheviot cross Welsh mule ewes.

Currently finished on farm before the ram lambs are sold to an abattoir through a local collection centre, Gwion keeps all the ewes for breeding and is slowly building up both the quality and size of the flock. He’s determined to utilise Farming Connect training to learn all he can about sheep health and performance.

“Over the years, I have seen my parents and I benefit so much from our involvement with Farming Connect, and I want to learn all I can to gain new skills or build on what I already know.”

This has ranged from attending events and open days to a wide range of training on practical topics including animal husbandry, foot trimming and pesticides handling which Gwion undertook, together with business and ICT training on VAT returns which his mum completed.

Gwion also recently undertook a basic two-day sheep shearing course, which was subsidised by 80 per cent through Farming Connect. Having already had his application accepted, he is now patiently waiting for the Covid-19 restrictions to end so that he can attend the advanced course as soon as it’s available.

“The basic shearing training taught our group so much, and we all learned how to handle the sheep with far more confidence and to shear more quickly and efficiently.”

“The British Wool trainer was really experienced and knowledgeable, so the course really transformed my skills which meant I took on a large part of the shearing at home last year and was able to help out some neighbours too.” said Gwion.

Gwion is also looking forward to getting his new cv up to date by utilising Storfa Sgiliau, Farming Connect’s online data storage tool, since every training course he undertakes through Farming Connect will be uploaded on his behalf.

“Storfa Sgiliau will help me identify any gaps in my knowledge where I will benefit from more training.”

Farming Connect training is subsidised for registered farmers by up to 80 per cent, with training on ICT and animal health workshops fully funded.

The current skills application window is open until Friday, February 26. For further information about more than 70 short training courses (available once face-to-face training resumes), along with e-learning modules and other online options including ICT training and animal health workshops, visit