Farmer and butcher off on awe-inspiring American adventure

Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) announced the recipients of the 2016 HCC Scholarship during a reception at the Royal Welsh Show today.

Two individuals have been awarded the prestigious Scholarship and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to boost their skillset on a global fact-finding mission. Richard Roderick, a beef and sheep farmer from Brecon and Peter Rushforth, a young butcher from Mold will head for America to investigate red meat production and processing methods. 

Each year HCC offers stimulating scholarships worth up to £3,000 to successful applicants who work in the red meat sector to travel the world and gain an insight into farming and processing techniques in countries of their choice. Scholars are encouraged to search for practices and methods that could be implemented in Wales to benefit the sector.

Supported and funded by HCC, the successful candidates will spend between four and six weeks at their chosen destination, studying a range of interesting topics and techniques. 

Richard Roderick farms at Newton Farm, in the Usk Valley, Brecon in partnership with his wife, Helen. They keep suckler cows and over 1,000 breeding ewes and 260 ewe lambs, and also grow cereals and fodder beet. Richard is changing the direction of his beef production systems and aims to produce exceptional meat from a smaller, more efficient, forage-based suckler cow.

It is for this reason that he will visit America to investigate beef breeding options. He hopes to look at successful businesses, gather their data and knowledge to inform and develop his own farming practices.

Cattle genetics will also form an important part of Richard’s study. He feels that genetic improvements have been a great success in the American beef industry and hopes that first-hand experience of these developments will benefit his own business.

Newton Farm is a Farming Connect Demonstration Farm, and Richard and Helen were recently named winners of this year’s Silver Lapwing Award, granted each year by the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) to recognise commitment to species and habitat conservation.  

Award-winning butcher Peter Rushforth works at Swan’s Farm Shop near Mold. He is a committed and ambitious young butcher who is keen to boost the business and drive the high-street butcher forward.

He will also travel to America, a country where red meat is an obvious mealtime favourite. Peter is keen to find out how the red meat sector copes with the demand – how it is processed in large volumes, butchery techniques of the forequarter to add value, and the ageing process. He will also consider the American perspective on charcuterie.

Peter has won numerous awards including Welsh Young Butcher Champion 2014 and 2015 and was the highest scoring Welsh Butcher in the 2016 regional heats for Worldskills UK.

James Ruggeri, HCC’s Industry Development Executive, said: “We were very pleased to offer the HCC Scholarship to two extremely motivated and ambitious individuals this year. Both Richard and Peter will travel to America. Their topics are completely different but still very relevant to the red meat sector in Wales.

“We look forward to hearing the outcomes of their travels and new-found knowledge, and to learning how their findings can benefit two areas within the sector here in Wales.

“The HCC Scholarship Association now includes 49 people who have visited countries on every single continent. They have brought back a wealth of experience which is being shared with their peers across Wales.”