IT is two years since young entrant Llŷr Evans was given the chance of a lifetime by his grandparents John and Dailwen Vaughan who farm Glasdir, a beef and sheep holding near Boncath in Pembrokeshire. Supported by Farming Connect’s Venture programme, which provides support for those wanting to step back from farming with others hoping to get that all important first foothold, John and Dailwen entered into a partnership agreement with Llŷr, giving him a 51% share in the livestock. It means that at just 21 years old, Llŷr is already building up his own capital investment while also learning how to manage a successful farm business alongside his very experienced grandfather.
For John and Dailwen who are both of retirement age, attending a farming Connect succession meeting in their locality, and then being advised to attend a Venture meeting, gave them the guidance and support they needed to formalise a partnership agreement with their young grandson. With fully funded business advice and a legal framework provided as part of the Venture programme through farm business consultant Wendy Jenkins of Cara Wales and rural solicitor Manon Williams of Agri Advisor, the couple had the confidence to formally bring Llŷr into the stocking side of the business. The new partnership arrangement has the backing of the whole family and has provided a much-needed solution to safeguarding the future of the farm, where John and Dailwen still live.
From an early age, Llŷr has spent every spare minute at Glasdir, which is just a few miles from his parents’ house in nearby Hermon. After leaving school he enrolled at Gelli Aur College where he obtained his Level 3 Extended Diploma. He also purchased his own flock of 100 sheep which he kept on land rented locally and purchased a small number of suckler cows. All stock are now incorporated into the Glasdir business.
Just two years on, Llŷr and his grandfather are working in partnership to develop Glasdir which extends to 118 acres of owned land with a further 42 acres rented on a short-term basis. The current farming system is based on 120 beef cattle finished under 30 months and 100 lowland ewes which lamb from mid-February onwards.
It’s already a profitable system, but with Llŷr’s energy and focus, both he and his grandfather are now intent on developing the business further. If all goes to plan, Llŷr will eventually be sole owner of all the livestock and part-owner of the machinery.
John says that having a legal framework from Agri Advisor and the ongoing support of Wendy Jenkins has ensured that all family members from the three generations involved are delighted that the future of this family business is now safeguarded, with long-term benefits for them all.
Nerys Llewelyn Jones of Agri Advisor said,
“We worked closely with Wendy Jenkins and the family to prepare a partnership agreement that provides a platform for this business to thrive.
“All parties have clarity as to their role and responsibility and this is crucial to the success of any collaborative venture.”
As all Venture participants receive fully funded business advice through Farming Connect’s Advisory Service, Wendy Jenkins was also able to assist Llŷr with his application for a grant, at that time available through the Welsh Government’s ‘Young People into Agriculture’ scheme.
“This scheme was announced around the same time I was working with the family to produce a strategic business plan, so it was the perfect time to plan ahead for more efficient ways of working, improve grazing management and invest in nutrient management planning ahead of increasing stock numbers,” said Ms Jenkins.
For John and Dailwen, the arrangement has brought them peace of mind and the opportunity to scale back John’s day to day involvement with the heavier work.
“Llŷr is not only our grandson, he’s a very ambitious young farmer. He’s focused on ensuring the business performs at its best and thanks to benchmarking with other similar businesses, he knows what he’s aiming for and is intent on developing the business further,” says John.
John says that if at some stage in the future, the middle generation all agree that the farm should be sold, he hopes that Llŷr will by then have built up his own capital investment of stock and machinery and be in a good position to consider buying Glasdir or a different farm.
For Llŷr, the future looks bright and thanks to his supportive and far-sighted family he’s been able to gain that all-important foothold into building up his own business.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity which the whole family sees as really beneficial and positive, because it’s a way of keeping the business going and safeguarding its future long-term while at the same time giving me a fantastic opportunity to start building up my own business on a self-employed basis.”