THE FUW has been at the heart of discussions to bring back a mart to Cowbridge as well as creating a multi-purpose resource which will not only benefit the farming community, but the much wider area as well.
It is widely accepted that the heart of our agricultural and rural communities is a livestock market, and Cowbridge was no exception. Known as a market town for 750 years, Cowbridge benefitted from farmers and their families visiting the town to carry out their weekly business-calling in at the feed merchants, doing their grocery shopping as well as the important trip to the bank whilst carrying out the business of buying and selling their livestock at the weekly market.
The effects of the closure of the Livestock Market in Cowbridge were felt across a wide area but especially by the local communities, with the loss of trade to high street businesses and the subsequent banking facilities closing and after years of selling livestock the market has now been demolished and is now used as a carpark.
FUW member Charlotte Llewellyn of Cefncolstyn Farm, Pentyrch said:
“If the Welsh government is genuine about promoting sustainable farming and for local people to eat local produce, then butchers need local abattoirs processing local livestock from local markets produced by local farmers. In Glamorgan the nearest livestock markets are Raglan, Ross or Brecon – this does not support farmers trying to be carbon neutral or negative, neither does it support restaurants trying to buy ingredients with low green miles nor public attempting to do their part to reduce global warming by choosing to consume local produce.
The benefits of having somewhere to chat to other farmers are huge. Farming can be a lonely business and day to day running of a busy farm can be stressful enough and therefore a local market is crucial for the welfare of farmers, their livestock and the environment.”
The FUW agrees that there has never been a more important time for agriculture and rural communities to come together and to share their worries and concerns. With agriculture now focused on efficiency and sustainability, the industry must now look at how to reduce emissions. With the demolition of Cowbridge livestock market the alternative options to sell cattle or sheep are situated an hours’ drive in either direction and with restrictions is place for hauling livestock over 65km, this is an additional cost for producers, along with the impact on their carbon footprint.
With ongoing conversations with local farmers, younger farmers and those in the surrounding communities, it is obvious that there is a desire is to enable the surrounding areas to benefit from an asset which will form part of a Rural Hub or Agri Hub. The vision is that this resource will have a meeting room, hot desk facilities for all types of business, catering facilities and the building will be as multi-functioning as possible.
FUW are in discussion with the local councils to move this project forward and Sharon Pritchard, FUW County Executive Officer for Gwent & Glamorgan said:
“Glamorgan County is very enthusiastic about the potential new Agri Hub. With ideas for the project from YFC members and FUW members alike we as a Union are working hard alongside The Vale of Glamorgan Council to bring the Agri Hub to fruition.”