Sunday, 23 August 2009

FUW Rewards Young Dairy Farmer Who Achieved 20-Year Ambition

A young farmer who achieved a 20-year ambition to run his own dairy farm when his local council offered him a holding has won the Farmers' Union of Wales Pembrokeshire branch's annual Countryside Award.

Thirty-three-year-old Julian Nicholas, of Lower Coxhill Farm, Narberth, who has worked in agriculture all his life, was presented with the award plus £100 and a year's free FUW membership during the Pembrokeshire County Show thsiw week.

"From the first days that I could get about as a toddler I was helping out on the family''s dairy farm at Martletwy," he said.

And he was barely into his teens when he developed an ambition to run his own dairy herd. But the family farm was sold 11 years ago due to the ill health of his father Brian who has since recovered from his illness.

"After that set-back I carried on working on local farms as a general farm worker," said Julian. "We moved to a smallholding and I always kept a couple of sucklers and remained very keen and interested in farming.

"But it was never enough to give me the start I needed so, about eight years ago, I began my own business of relief milking and agricultural fencing. It was extremely hard work but it was just the chance I needed."

Then four years ago he applied to run a National Trust farm and his ambition and drive helped him to be selected for the 40-acre Amroth Farm at Amroth. "This gave me the space to increase cattle numbers and keep my business thriving," Julian said.

But this was still not enough for him and he remained determined to achieve his ambition of owning a dairy herd. His break came just over 18 months ago when he had the opportunity to apply for the county council's 90-acre dairy farm at Lower Coxhill.

"I was thrilled to be offered the opportunity even though it meant more commitment and less time for my existing business," he said. "But it meant I had realised my dream.

"I now own a herd of 60 dairy cows and still have my fencing business. I also help our silage contractor out."

When Julian took over
Amroth Farm his girlfriend Libby moved in with him. They were married eight months ago and she is expecting their first child in December.

The judges said all three of the shortlisted nominees would have been very worthy winners but they eventually chose Julian because he had started and developed his business from scratch.

"Also, he had chosen to move into dairy production at a very difficult time for the sector which showed a high level of determination and commitment to the industry," the judges added.


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