HCC study tours are a major hit as 1,000 farmers visit 11 countries
More than a thousand Welsh farmers have visited 11 countries over the last three years to learn about new agricultural techniques thanks to a project run by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales.
HCC introduced study tours, funded through the Rural Development Plan for Wales, in 2009. Since that date a total of 1,027 farmers have taken part in 49 study tours to countries including France, Germany, Romania, Norway and Italy as well as the four home nations.
“The study tours have proven to be enormously popular with farmers in Wales who are eager to discover what their counterparts in Europe or even in other parts of the UK are doing to improve their livestock or farm management,” said HCC Project Executive Dewi Hughes.
“Each group on their return had to provide a written report to HCC on their findings and organise events in their localities so that the information they had gathered could be passed on to their farmer colleagues,” he said. “The reports are also uploaded to the HCC website for wider dissemination.”
Under the scheme, HCC provided financial support of 50 per cent up to a maximum of £200 per person for each study tour, which had to focus on the following key areas.
• Breed improvement;
• Climate change and environmental issues;
• Animal health and welfare;
• Animal and human nutrition;
• Product quality and safety;
The total amount paid out by HCC for the scheme since its launch in February 2009 until the closing date in September this year was £105,000.
The last study tour was undertaken by members of the Anglesey Grassland Society to Yorkshire in September, when they focussed on the importance of grass production, breed selection and good animal husbandry. They also saw at close hand how every element of the red meat chain, from farmer to auction centre through to retailer worked.
“The intention is that the information gathered during these study tours will be used by those who have taken part to further improve their farms and also to pass on what they have learned to their friends and neighbours,” said Mr Hughes. “By doing so the benefits of this investment in learning should be reaped for many years to come.”
While RDP funding for this project has now ceased, reports of the study tour reports can still be found on the HCC website – www.hccmpw.org.ukBack to news listing