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A 17-YEAR-OLD lad from Bala has recently spoken about the great opportunities available to youths from Wales about working in farming.

It has come to light that only one per cent of total apprenticeships in Wales have been in agriculture in the last two years, according to Stats Wales.

The results also showed that just 325 of 31,360 apprenticeships in Wales from 2017/2018 were in agriculture. This is somewhat surprising, given the fact that 85 per cent of Wales land is used for agriculture and farming has such a strong history here.

Apparently, these facts didn't sit well with Owen Rhys Jones, who decided to speak up and give only kind words to farming in Wales and for those in school to think about agriculture as a long-term job.

In addition to working on his uncle's farm, Owen has already started an apprenticeship with Coleg Cambria, which provides him with the right experience and knowledge to make it as a farmer in the future.

"People stereotype farmers as walking around in mud all day but there is so much more to the world of agriculture, and I’m certainly finding that out here," said Owen.

"I think I would like to become a herdsman and have my own farm one day. I have lots of ideas and I enjoy working with my uncle and gaining experience and advice from him. I’m still figuring out what I want to do in the future as there as so many opportunities, more than I imagined.

"When I left school I wasn’t sure what to do with myself, I knew I wanted to work in agriculture and joined my uncle on his farm, which is when my mum encouraged me to do an apprenticeship, to give me something to fall back on."

Despite some trepidation about what will happen to farming in Wales after a potential No Deal Brexit, it appears there are still many agricultural jobs in Wales right there for the taking, and that with the right training, young people could find a prosperous and engaging career in farming.

As well, providing food for a growing population and contributing to economic growth are solid reasons to consider farming as a livelihood.

Besides, it doesn’t hurt that farming machinery is perhaps the safest and most efficient it's ever been.

Take the new LEXION combine harvester from CLAAS, for example. CLAAS is ranked as the top-selling combine harvester manufacturer in the UK according to data by the Agricultural Engineers Association, and outranked New Holland and John Deere by a considerable margin.

The advanced and updated LEXION is designed to make farmers' lives easier with improved threshing technology, larger feed drums, laser field scanning to help guidance, and a complex AI assistance system that can automatically adjust the combine to different field conditions and crop types.

Even with Brexit, there are two grant schemes in the works that would replace funding from the EU for farmers in Wales. The idea is that farmers would help to cut greenhouse gasses, assist wildlife habitats to flourish and to improve the quality of water in the local area.

Farmers would, of course, be able to have business support, such as skills development programmes and loans for new farming machinery and equipment.