As red meat agency Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) celebrates the 20th anniversary of its Scholarship Association, two young and ambitious individuals from mid Wales will be flying high as the lucky recipients of the HCC Scholarship this year.
It was revealed during a reception at the Royal Welsh Show today (Thursday 27 July) that the 2017 winners are Clare James from Llanyre, Llandrindod Wells and Thomas Howells from Llanerfyl, Welshpool.
They will receive up to £3,000 each to fund a global fact-finding mission that will increase their understanding of the red meat sector, arming them with the power of knowledge to enhance their own skills and experience.
Harper Adams student Clare James, who grew up on a beef and sheep farm, will travel to America to investigate beef grading systems in the USA. She said: “Being the largest global exporter of beef, America has vast and diverse practices, cultures and therefore learning opportunities. The country has different legislation and climate to the UK, it therefore offers an opportunity to gain information and opinions on the sustainability of the beef sector.”
Clare is keen to develop a global knowledge and understanding at a time of economic and political uncertainty, and will study the difference between American cattle grading systems and the EUROP grid. “Cattle grading,” she said, “is an area of opportunity for the UK following Brexit. America is claimed to be a global leader in product consistency. Furthermore, the scale of US production exceeds that of UK facilities and therefore a wealth of knowledge can be gained, allowing comparison and potential future development.”
Thomas Howells will focus on the sheep sector and TechnoGrazing in the uplands. He has chosen to visit New Zealand due to the scale of their industry and advanced knowledge of the system. He is keen to develop his knowledge of grassland management and increase on-farm efficiency so that time consuming tasks do not hinder the daily routine of the farm. “By bringing my newfound understanding and techniques home from New Zealand, I hope to be able to share methods and utilize grass better on the home farm.”
Like Clare, he is also aware of developments and changes within the industry: “I believe that being able to move with the times and adapt is a must, with technology providing a huge role in monitoring effectiveness and reliability.”
HCC’s Industry Development Executive, James Ruggeri said: “It’s a significant year for the HCC Scholarship as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Scholarship Association. Individuals from across the Welsh red meat sector, from farmers to butchers, have made a substantial contribution over the years towards advancing our knowledge as an industry. We are very pleased to award this year’s scholarship to two young and inspiring candidates and invite them to join the Scholarship Association and our celebrations later this year to mark this momentous milestone. Both Clare and Thomas will, without a doubt, bring back a wealth of knowledge to share with their peers and the sector as a whole here in Wales.”