In a bid to encourage the next generation of pig keepers and to get farmers thinking about pigs as a viable diversification option, six Wales YFC members have been awarded five weaners each as a stepping stone into the pig industry.

The scheme builds on the success of the Wales YFC and Menter Moch Cymru pig finishing initiative in 2017 and 2019.

The winners were announced at the Virtual RWAS Royal Welsh Show and they were Angharad Thomas, Dyffryn Tywi YFC; Emily Lloyd, Llangwyrfon YFC; Ethan Williams, Llantrisant YFC; Katie Hughson, Howey YFC; Teleri Vaughan, Eglwyswrw YFC, and Teleri Evans, Pontsian YFC.

Non Williams, rural affairs chairman, said: “Thank you to Menter Moch Cymru for the opportunity to collaborate on our pig finishing competition yet again this year. "We are very impressed with the number and standard of the applications, and were pleased to be able to provide the initiative despite Covid-19 restrictions.

"Congratulations to the successful candidates and best of luck with the new venture. We look forward to following their developments by taking advantage of the support on offer as part of the initiative in the form of mentoring and training.”

On hearing of his success Ethan Williams said: "I’m thrilled to be a winner and I’m excited to be the first time rearer of pigs on the farm. This is an incredible opportunity to be part off.”

Teleri Evans said: ”I’m really happy to be chosen as part of this enterprise, I’m looking forward to rearing my 5 weaners on my smallholding”.

The competition was launched in April to find six enthusiastic new pig keepers. The application process included a written application followed by a virtual farm visit and on-farm assessment.

The judges were very impressed with the standard of the applications and had a difficult task to select the final six.

The prize provided by Menter Moch Cymru is a bespoke training programme, starting with the first training session training on pig husbandry, legislation and feed/nutrition, followed by additional training sessions throughout the year.

Menter Moch Cymru will also be assisting the winners in marketing the pork and will provide continuing support and training to develop the skills required for this new endeavour.

The skills gained throughout this competition will be valuable and applicable to many on-farm enterprises.

“Menter Moch Cymru is delighted to be working with Wales YFC again on this exciting and unique opportunity for their members” said Melanie Cargill, Menter Moch Cymru project manager

“It’s encouraging to see that there is real appetite and interest in the pig sector here in Wales, particularly during such turbulent times throughout the agricultural industry. This initiative has been a great success in the past, resulting in farms diversifying and new businesses being established.”

The competition will conclude at the end of the year at the RWAS Winter Fair with a pig class for the six finalists, subject to the show being able to go ahead.